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The start of something extraordinary

Golds for Stanley, Snyders in World Cup swimming in Beijing

Twenty-year-old Olympian Matthew Stanley began his FINA World Cup campaign in fine style with victory in the 400m freestyle on the opening night in Beijing.

Stanley was part of a strong New Zealand performance on the first night of the Asian leg of the series with victory to Glenn Snyders in the 50m breaststroke and a silver medal to Melissa Ingram in the 200m backstroke.

Stanley’s winning time of 3:40.74 was only 34/100ths of a second off Danyon Loader’s national record that has stood for 17 years.

The Matamata swimmer, coached by Scott Talbot, was third through the opening 100m but hit the front by the halfway mark and was not seriously threatened, beating home American Michael Klueh by a second.

Snyders picked up where he left off in the European leg of the series with victory in the 50m breaststroke in 26.64s, only 3/100ths of a second off the New Zealand record he set in Stockholm.

He powered home to beat Australian record-holder and London Olympic medallist Christian Sprenger (AUS) and leading Chinese breaststroker Shuai Wang.

It was Snyders’ third victory of the series and his 10th podium placing from 12 starts on the World Cup circuit.

His fellow Swimming New Zealand High Performance Centre team-mate Melissa Ingram settled for second in the 200m backstroke, following three straight wins over the distance in Stockholm, Moscow and Berlin.

Ingram clocked 2:05.35 to be half a second behind leading Chinese hope Yanxin Zhou, a reversal of their battle at the same meet last year when the kiwi edged home for the win.

It was Ingram’s 10th podium placing in the series.

North Shore’s Mitchell Donaldson was the other finalist, finishing seventh in the 400m individual medley in his World Cup debut.

Earlier North Shore’s Dylan Dunlop Barrett was 21st fastest in heats of the 400m freestyle and Jessica Marston (West Auckland Aquatics) 22nd fastest in heats of the 800m freestyle.

The meet concludes tomorrow before moving to Tokyo and then Singapore to complete the FINA Arena World Cup circuit.

Day 1 finals:
50m breaststroke: Glenn Snyders (NZL) 26.64, 1; Christian Sprenger (AUS) 26.74, 2; Shuai Wang (CHN) 26.86, 3.
400m individual medley: Zhixian Yang (CHN) 4>05.62, 1; Travis Mahoney (AUS) 4:09.69, 2; Feilian Mao (CHN) 4:10.68, 3. Also: Mitchell Donaldson (NZL) 4:21.94, 7.
400m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (NZL) 3:40.74, 1; Michael Klueh (USA) 3:41.62, 2; Yunqi Li (CHN) 3:41.83, 3.
200m backstroke: Yanxin Zhou (CHN) 2:04.81, 1; Melissa Ingram (NZL) 2:05.35, 2; Anqi Bai (CHN) 2:06.78, 3.