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The start of something extraordinary

Main under world qualifying in State NZ Swim Champs

Counties Manukau teenager Corey Main surprised himself in becoming the first swimmer under the world championship qualifying standard on the opening night of the State New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington tonight.

The 17 year old from the Howick Pakuranga club claimed his first national open title in winning the 100m backstroke in 52.45s at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre.

Main edged under the qualifying mark by just 1/100th of a second in setting a new personal best time, finishing clear of early leader Kurt Crosland (Neptune, Dunedin) and Cameron James (AquaGym, Christchurch).

He was the only swimmer on the first night to meet the FINA A qualifying time to be considered for selection for December’s world championships in Turkey.

The result surprised Main who has been one of the outstanding age group swimmers on both sides of the Tasman over the last 12 months.

“I can’t get my head around it. To have gone under the qualifying for the world championships is fantastic,” Main said. “My aim was to come here this week and keep improving but I was not expecting to get under the qualifying.

“My big goal is the road to Rio in 2016 and this will be a big stepping stone. It will be amazing to race against the best in the world and see just where I stand.

“To win my first national open title is fantastic to.”

Main, who is targeting another qualifying time in his favoured 200m backstroke later in the meet, heaped praise on his Howick Pakuranga coach Jana Korbasova and director of coaching Horst Miehe.

“Horst has always been there for me and Jana has really helped me a lot after my old coach left.”

London Olympian Matt Stanley took out the men’s 200m freestyle title by more than a second, winning in 1:45.23. However the Matamata club swimmer, based at Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre under coach Scott Talbot, was just 9/100ths of a second outside the qualifying time for the world championships.

The closest final saw North Shore’s Ashton Baumann edge out national age group champion Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e (Howick Pakuranga) to claim the 100m breaststroke title. Arona-Tuifana’e, who has won national age group honours in News Zealand and Australia, was half a second ahead at the halfway mark but Baumann finished strongly to edge him over the final 10m, winning by 11/100ths of a second in 1:00.38.

In other finals, Jane Ip (West Auckland Aquatics) won the 50m breaststroke in 32.30, Capital’s Samantha Lee held off Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym) to win the 200m butterfly in a slick 2:10.05 while Auckland’s Caroline Baddock (Laser Mt Eden) dipped under the minute mark to win the 100m backstroke from Kate Godfrey (Neptune). The Dunedin 18 year old climbed to the top of the podium in the final event, winning the tough 400m individual medley in 4:43.80.

Christchurch’s Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui) , third in the 200m freestyle, grabbed the honours in the 100m butterfly winning in 55.10 ahead of Isaac Foote (Capital) and Ashley Townsend (Fairfield) in a closely fought final.

The championships continues until Thursday.

Open finals results, day 1:

Men 200m freestyle: Matt Stanley (Matamata) 1:45.23, 1; Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) 1:46.29, 2; Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui) 1:46.47, 3.

Women 50m breaststroke: Jane Ip (West Auckland Aquatics) 32.30, 1; Kendall Reidy (Central Hawkes Bay) 32.80, 2; Emily McGill (Capital) 32.83, 3.

Men 100m backstroke: Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) 52.45, 1 (World Championship qualifying time); Kurt Crosland (Neptune) 52.50, 2; Cameron James (AquaGym) 55.21, 3.

Women 200m butterfly: Samantha Lee (Capital) 2:10.05, 1; Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym) 2:11.81, 2; Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz) 2:12.63, 3.

Men 100m breaststroke: Ashton Baumann (North Shore) 1:00.38, 1; Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e (Howick Pakuranga) 1:00.49, 2; Ben Walsh (Porirua City) 1:02.23, 3.

Women 100m backstroke: Caroline Baddock (Laser Mt Eden) 59.88, 1; Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 1:01.56, 2; Laura Quilter (Comet, Napier) 1:01.67, 3.

Men 100m butterfly: Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui) 55.10, 1; Isaac Foote (Capital) 55.31, 2; Ashley Townsend (Fairfield) 55.41, 3.

Women 400m individual medley: Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 4:43.88, 1; Emily McGill (Capital) 4:47.63, 2; Kelly Scammell (AquaGym) 4:51.94, 3.

CAPTION: Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) in action on his way to winning the 100m backstroke title at the State New Zealand shot Course Swimming Championships at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre, Wellington tonight.