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State New Zealand Swimming Championships – Day 3 Heats

There’s a battle within a battle looming for the third day of finals tonight at the State New Zealand Swimming Championships in Auckland.

Commonwealth Games relay medallist Natasha Hind (Capital HPC) was fastest qualifier in heats of the women’s 200m freestyle with the top six swimmers within two seconds of her time of 1:59.24.

As well as the national title and individual Olympic qualification, there is a battle for a place in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team which has already secured an invitation to London after finishing eighth at the world championships last year.

Hind led home national record holder Lauren Boyle (1:59.98), Samantha Lucie-Smith (2:01.26), Penelope Marshall (2:01.56), Melissa Ingram (2:01.85) and Amaka Gessler (2:01.95) to set up a major skirmish in tonight’s final.

North Shore’s Shaun Burnett was fastest in heats of the 200m butterfly, clocking 2:00.26 to finish well clear of the rest of the qualifiers.

Also impressive was Southland’s Natalie Wiegersma, who qualified for the 400m individual medley on the opening night. She was fastest in the heats of the 200m individual medley in 2:15.50, two seconds outside the London time.

Beckie Dooley (JASI) led a Canterbury trifecta in heats of the 50m breaststroke ahead of Abbie Johnston (AquaGym) and the 100m winner Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury).

National record holder Glenn Snyders came within 0.4sec of his New Zealand record to be fastest in heats of the 50m breaststroke in 27.59, ahead of US-based Nick Ferrif (North Shore).

Tonight’s finals begin at 6.30pm and the championships continue until Friday when the team for the London Olympics will be named.