Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Open Swimming Championships - Day 2 Heats

Wellington backstroker Gareth Kean became the fifth swimmer under the qualifying time for the world championships after a strong performance in the heats on day two of the State national championships in Auckland this morning.

The 21 year old clocked 53.72 in the heats of the 100m backstroke which was 0.7s inside the qualifying time for the world championships.

This follows the qualifying efforts by Lauren Boyle, Glenn Snyders, Sophia Batchelor and Matt Stanley on the first day of the championships.

His time was only 0.4s off his national record set in qualifying for last year’s Olympics.

“It felt great. I have had a short season and a lot of workload both here and at altitude in Spain,” Kean said. “My underwater and my start felt great. They are things that I’ve been working on.

“It means everything to get the qualifying done in the heats. It takes the weight off your shoulders and means I can focus on where I can improve tonight and on to my 200 later in the week.

“I had three months off after the Olympics and I’ve only been back in training for nine weeks so to produce a time like that is encouraging although I have to do it again tonight because both Kurt Bassett and Kurt Crosland had good swims this morning. It’s going to be interesting and exciting.”

In other strong performances Stanley topped qualifiers in the 200m freestyle in 1:48.74, just over a second outside the world championship qualifying.

Brilliant 13 year old prospect Bobbi Gichard (Greendale, Hawkes Bay) was fastest in the 100m backstroke heats in 1:02.54, under the qualifying time for the world junior championships while Beckie Dooley edged out fellow Cantabrians Abbie Johnston and Natasha Lloyd in heats of the 100m breaststroke in 1:11.76.

The second night of finals starts at 6.30pm tonight.   Full results: www.swimmingnz.org.nz   For further information contact: IAN HEPENSTALL  Media Manager Swimming NZ High Performance Sports Media NZ Ltd Tel 09 2327822 Mob 0275 613181 E: ian@sportsmedianz.com Skype: kiwiheps