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The start of something extraordinary

Hutchins leads excellent kiwi effort in Trans Tasman swim test

Three victories from brilliant Christchurch swimmer Matthew Hutchins was the foundation for a powerful showing from the New Zealand age group swim team in the Trans Tasman test series against Australia in Wagga Wagga today.

New Zealand, on the back of 11 wins among 24 podiums, jumped into second place after four of six tests, with the final two clashes tomorrow and Saturday in Melbourne.

The biennial event pits the best young age group swimmers in New Zealand against two teams from Australia in six tests over six days in three venues – Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

The New Zealand team saved their best for today’s fourth test in Wagga Wagga where the six wins among 15 podiums pushed them just three points from claiming the test from the Australia Green combination.

Hutchins, 17, from the Wharenui club, continued his brilliant form in winning the men’s 50m freestyle skins final, the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle which brought his winning tally to eight including three Trans Tasman meet records. He has been an integral part of the relay combinations in a packed schedule.

“At first I wasn’t even sure if there were records, but after I saw the programme there were a couple of races I tried to target, knowing they were within my reach. In saying that, the 200m individual medley last night was a bit of a surprise,” Hutchins said.

The Kiwi has also set his sights on a few more records for the remainder of the meet.

“I’m really hoping I can get the 200m freestyle one, I’ve been within half a second both times I’ve raced and then maybe take the records I’ve already broken a bit faster as well!” he said.

Last night Hutchins won the 200m freestyle (1:48.83) and the 200m medley (2:02.73) and today he prevailed in the 50m freestyle skins final (23.36), the 100m freestyle (50.71) and 400m freestyle (3:51.93).

The other victories over the two Wagga Wagga tests went to Julian Weir (AquaBladz, Taranaki) in the 100m backstroke (56.44), Julian Layton (Greendale, Hawkes Bay) in the 200m medley (4:24.48), George Schroder (AquaGym, Christchurch) in the 200m breaststroke (2:19.71), Ben Walsh (Porirua City Aquatics) in the 100m breaststroke (1:04.18) and Rima Williams (Laser Mt Eden, Auckland) in the 100m backstroke (1:01.68).

New Zealand teams also won the men’s 200m freestyle relay.

They also scored their first one-two finish with Walsh finishing runner-up to Schroder in the 200m breaststroke final.

The New Zealand team scored 117 points for the fourth test today, just three behind the leading Australia Green team. Overall after four tests, Australia Green lead on 497 points from New Zealand on 435 and Australia Gold on 430.

The teams travel to Melbourne tonight with the fifth test tomorrow and final test on Saturday morning.