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Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships – Day 1 Heats

Swimming veteran Steven Kent won the battle with his Commonwealth Games teammates on the opening morning of the 10th Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships in Auckland today.

Kent was fastest in heats of the 200m freestyle to qualify for tonight’s final at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson.

The 10th Oceania Championships has attracted 175 competitors from 14 nations for the pool and synchronised swimming competition from today until Friday.

Only two swimmers from each country can qualify for the A final and a third for the B final which added a degree of competition between the quartet from Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre.

Kent topped that group with a solo performance in the first heat in 1:50.21, just ahead of national champion Matthew Stanley (1:50.58) while Ewan Jackson grabbed the B final spot in 1:51.69 with Dylan Dunlop-Barrett missing out by 28/100ths of a second.

Auckland’s Nielsen Varoy topped qualifiers for the men’s 50m butterfly. After bypassing the event at the recent national championships, Varoy clocked 24.72s to pip Australian Dominic Richardson, New Zealand champion Paul Benson and 15 year old Australian sensation Kyle Chalmers.

Australian 18 year old Brianna Throssell, a double Junior Pan Pacific Championship medallist two years ago, was fastest in the women’s 50m butterfly heats.

She clocked 27.01 to finish half a second ahead of New Zealanders Laura Quilter and Sophia Batchelor.

Rising Australian star Ami Matsuo was all class to be fastest in heats of the women’s 200m freestyle.

The 17 year old, part of Australia’s world championship medal winning relay team two years ago, was fastest in a slick 2:00.67, which was more than a second clear of compatriots Shayna Jack and Chelsea Gillett.

Fastest of the New Zealanders was Tash Hind, fourth fastest in 1:02.20 ahead of Samantha Lucie-Smith (2:02.54).

Australian Nicholas Groenewald was fastest in heats or the 100m backstroke in 57.76, ahead of Makoa Alvarez (Hawaii) and William Clark (Fiji), while Caroline Baddock was quickest in the women in 1:02.04 ahead of Commonwealth Games freestyler Laura Quilter (1:02.63), pushing world junior 50m backstroke champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili to the B final as the third fastest qualifier.

Shaun Burnett (New Zealand) topped qualifiers in heats of the 200m butterfly in 2:00.84 ahead of Nicholas Brown (Australia) in 2:02.81 and Isaac Foote (New Zealand) in 2:04.42.

Tonight’s finals begin at 6.30pm.