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State New Zealand Swimming Championships – Day 2 Heats

Wellington swimmer Gareth Kean showed his class to dip under the qualifying time for the London Olympics on the second day of the State New Zealand championships in Auckland today.

Kean, 20, from the Wellington High Performance Centre, was impressive in clocking 53.58 to top the heats in the 100m backstroke, nearly a full second under the qualifying time for London in the championships that double as the official Olympic Trials.

His time was only 8/100ths outside his own national record set at the world championships and was the fifth fastest time in the world this year.

In other heats, Matthew Stanley, who qualified in the 400m freestyle last night, impressed in heats of the 200m freestyle today. He finished second fastest (1:50.87) behind fellow North Shore and High Performance Centre teammate Steven Kent (1:50.31).

Melissa Ingram set herself up for a crack at the qualifying time in the 100m backstroke after topping qualifiers in the heats today in 1:02.11 from fellow North Shore swimmer Penelope Marshall (1:02.32) and Natalie Wiegersma from Waverley, Southland (1:03.11).

National record holder Lauren Boyle eased her way to top billing in heats of the 400m freestyle, cruising home in 4:14.21 ahead of training partner Tash Hind (4:15.13) and Queensland-based open water national champion Cara Baker (4:16.25).

North Canterbury 16 year old Natasha Lloyd was fastest in heats of the 100m breaststroke in 1:11.57 well clear of fellow Cantabrian Beckie Dooley (JASI).

North Shore’s Samantha Richter sealed another excellent session when she broke Liz Coster’s New Zealand record in topping heats of the 50m butterfly in 26.97s.

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