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NZ swimmers chase Rio ticket in Toronto

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/04/2016

A small collection of swimmers - including two Japanese-born brothers - will take part in the second wave of New Zealand's Olympic qualifying process this week.

Swimming NZ amended its Rio nomination criteria to allow US-based swimmers to qualify for Rio through the Canadian national trials beginning in Toronto on Tuesday.

The tweak allows the college-based swimmers a small break to prepare following the NCAA championships in Atlanta.

It would have been logistically difficult for the swimmers to compete at last month's national championships in Auckland, from which six Kiwis produced Olympic qualifying performances.

The most prominent hopefuls this week are expected to be world championships backstroke representative Corey Main (University of Florida), breaststroke exponent Natasha Lloyd (Auburn) and freestylers Matthew Hutchins (Wisconsin) and Sam Parry (Stanford).

Two new faces chasing selection are Mick and Kevin Litherland who, along with triplet brother Jay, are swimmers at Georgia State University.

While Jay has already represented the United States, Mick and Kevin are pursuing their Kiwi heritage in search of a Rio ticket.

The triplets were born in Japan to a New Zealand father and Japanese mother and they have been largely raised in the US.

Kevin is a freestyle specialist while Mick is more adept at butterfly and the individual medley.

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