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Three Kiwi swimmers reach world champs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/04/2017

The New Zealand Open championships have started on a high in Auckland, with three swimmers going under world championships qualifying times.

Rio Olympians Helena Gasson, Corey Main and Emma Robinson are eligible to compete at the July championships in Budapest following stand-out swims on Monday.

Gasson was first to tick the box, doing so in the morning heats for the 50m butterfly.

The 22-year-old surprised herself by clocking 26.45 seconds, just 0.04sec quicker than the cut-off time.

She was slower in the final but still won in 26.54sec as she turned her attention to her more preferred longer events later in the week.

Main, back from his base in Florida, nipped under the mark in winning the 200m backstroke

Main was 0.15sec under the 200m backstroke qualifying mark and the Aucklander was delighted by a time of 1min 58.00sec.

"It is quite challenging coming back from the US where we swim yards and convert to metres in a few days but it was a matter of getting the job done," said Main, who comfortably headed off another Rio Olympian, Bradlee Ashby.

Queensland-based Robinson powered home impressively in the 800m freestyle final

Robinson usually measures herself against New Zealand great Lauren Boyle, but with the fellow-Olympian still recovering from injury, had to do it on her own.

She was in control to win in 8:34.66 which was nearly four seconds inside the qualifying time.

US-based Rio Olympian Matthew Hutchins was unable to better his promising morning swim in the final of the 400m freestyle.

Racing just 10 days after the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis for the University of Wisconsin, Hutchins clocked 3:53.32. It was 5sec outside the qualifying time required for Budapest and considerably slower than his heat time.

In para-swimming competition, Kiwi great Sophie Pascoe qualified for the world championships and next year's Commonwealth Games in the morning heats of the SB9 100m breaststroke, clocking 1:20.49.

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