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The start of something extraordinary

Main looks to further his experience against the best

Counties Manukau teenager Corey Main is excited to take on the best at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships starting on the Gold Coast tomorrow.

The 19 year old is buoyed by his strong form at the Commonwealth Games and the challenge of competing against full strength teams from USA, Japan, Canada, Australia and the rest of the Pacific in the five-day meet.

Main, who is from the Howick Pakuranga club, is now based at the University of Florida on a swimming scholarship.

He competes in the 100m backstroke tomorrow and the 200m backstroke on Friday in the multi-million dollar revamped outdoor complex on the Gold Coast, which will be the venue for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Main is looking forward to swimming outdoors, something that backstrokers usually do not like, given the battle to cope with the sun.

“I’ve been brought up swimming outdoors at Howick Pakuranga and I just enjoy swimming outdoors,” Main said. “We still train and compete often outdoors in the US. It’s an enjoyable atmosphere.

“The main pool looks amazing with the grandstands surrounding it and the floodlights. It has been a little cold and windy but it will be a great atmosphere.”

He is ranked 12th fastest for the heats of the 100m backstroke and seeded 11th in the 200m backstroke – both personal best times set at Glasgow.

“I am actually swimming faster than I was at Glasgow right now. I honestly think if I can continue to improve and get the best out of myself that I can make the A Final and from there who knows?”

There’s a big start for the Kiwi team tomorrow with Main in the 100m backstroke where Japan’s triple Olympic medallist Ryosuke Irie is top seed.

Samantha Lucie-Smith and Emma Robinson, both from the Wellington Regional High Performance Centre, will contest the 200m freestyle where there is some doubts around American superstar Missy Franklin, who is battling a back injury. She won four gold medals at the London Olympics and six world titles in Barcelona last year.

Wellington’s Samantha Lee swims in heats of the 200m butterfly and five men – Matthew Stanley, Mitchell Donaldson, Dylan Dunlop-Barrett, Stephen kent and Ewan Jackson – contest heats of the 200m freestyle. Australia’s triple gold medallist from Glasgow, Thomas Fraser-Holmes is the top seed.

Robinson, from the Capital club in Wellington, will also compete in the slower heat of the 800m freestyle in the morning.

One of the highlights on the night programme will be the 800m freestyle fast heat which pitches the Glasgow silver medallist Lauren Boyle up against the American teenage star Katie Ledecky, who won the gold medal in this event at London and took the world titles in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle at the world championships where the Kiwi won bronze medals.

The heats begin at 10am local time and finals from 7pm from tomorrow until Sunday, with the 10km open water swim in the Southport Marina on Monday.