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The start of something extraordinary

Lloyd sets national record at Canadian Olympic Trials

North Canterbury’s Natasha Lloyd, who attends Auburn University, set a New Zealand record on the penultimate day of the Canadian Olympic Trials in Toronto.

Lloyd was third in the B final of the 200m breaststroke in 2:29.73, and while two seconds outside the Rio qualifying time, set a new national record. She is the first Kiwi under the 2m30s barrier to eclipse the old record that has stood for 11 years.

No further New Zealand swimmers have post qualifying times at the meet which is the second official trial for New Zealand swimmers to meet the qualifying times to be considered for the Rio Olympics, following the national championships in Auckland last week.

Corey Main, from the Howick Pakuranga club and on scholarship at the University of Florida, clocked 1:59.04 in heats of the 200m backstroke, the third fastest. It was 0.8s outside the FINA A qualifying standard but a FINA B time.

Main decided not to contest the B final at night, but focus as part of a New Zealand team in a special time trial against Canada in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

He met the qualifying standard in the 100m backstroke earlier in the meet and will trust that his heat time and history will earn himself a second swim in Rio.

The Kiwi combination of Matt Hutchins, Kevin Litherland, Corey Main and Bayley Main were timed at 7:22.10 which is unlikely to hold up as one of the remaining four fastest times in the world. The top 12 nations at last year’s world championships automatically qualified with the next fastest four this year to join them in Rio.

Hutchins, who went under the qualifying time in the 400m freestyle, was not able to back-up in his key event, the 1500m freestyle. The Wharenui club swimmer from Christchurch, attending the University of Wisconsin, could only manage 15:45.19 which is well outside the qualifying mark.

The best of the Kiwis was Kevin Litherland in 15:44.47. Litherland, competing with brother Mick for the first time for New Zealand, was on target through the 1200m mark but ran out of fuel over the final 250m.

Waikato’s Sam Perry, who attends Stanford University, won the B final of the 100m butterfly in 53.74s, the identical time to his morning heat.

Tomorrow’s final day will see Corey Main, Alex Hancock, Sam Perry and Bayley Main in the 50m freestyle, Caroline Baddock in the 200m backstroke and Jonathan Rutter in the 200m individual medley.