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The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Short Course Swimming Championships - Day 3 Heats

World University Games representative Matthew Hutchins was the stand out performer on the third morning of heats at the State New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie.

Hutchins (Wharenui) dominated heats of the men’s 400m freestyle to top qualifiers in a time of 3:48.97. The 19 year old led from start to finish with second qualifier Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) four seconds behind and London Olympian Matthew Stanley third fastest.

World Junior Champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Laser Mt Eden) left Olympians Hayley Palmer (North Shore) and Lauren Boyle (North shore) in her wake as she clocked a national age group record in the 50m freestyle in a swift time of 25.52s. Palmer and Boyle weren’t far behind in what is shaping up to be a tightly contested final tonight.

In other women’s heats, Dunedin’s Kate Godfrey (Neptune) led the way in the women’s 200m backstroke clocking 2:10.57 ahead of 100m backstroke winner Caroline Baddock (North Shore) and World Junior Championship representative Bobbi Gichard (Greendale).

It was a North Shore treble in qualifying for the 100m individual medley with teammates Baddock, Chloe Francis and Laura Quilter posting the top three times, all within the 63 second range.

In the men’s heats, Kurt Crosland (Neptune) had a strong showing in the 200m individual medley. The 29 year old will have young guns Bradlee Ashby and Max Polianski yapping at his heels in the final tonight.

Meanwhile Auckland’s Nielsen Varoy (Roskill) topped the qualifiers of the 50m butterfly ahead of Beijing Olympians William Benson (Heretaunga Sundevils) and Daniel Bell (Aquabladz New Plymouth) while Canterbury’s George Schroder (Aquagym) qualified fastest for the 200m breaststroke final in a time of 2:12.63.

The finals session begins at 6pm tonight and the meet continues until Thursday.

Live streaming of the championships is available here