8 Apr 2017

NZ relay team qualify for world champs

9:50 am on 8 April 2017

New Zealand has qualified a men's freestyle relay team for the world championships after all four went under the 50 second barrier to highlight the final night of the New Zealand Swimming Championships in Auckland.

Matthew Stanley

Matthew Stanley Photo: RNZ

The championships, that attracted 230 swimmers from 43 clubs, doubled as the trials for the world championships, Youth Commonwealth Games and the World University Games.

Eight swimmers qualified in 10 individual events in the pool, the most individual qualifiers for a decade, while there are two relay teams who met the qualifying standard - the men's 100m freestyle relay and women's 4x100m medley relay.

Swimming New Zealand will announce tomorrow the final team for the world championships in Budapest in July, to join Taranaki's Charlotte Webby who has already been named for open water.

While there were no further individual qualifiers tonight, there was some superb freestyle swimming in both the men and women to cap-off an enterprising and exciting championship with all qualifiers featuring as prospects for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond.

The men's 100m freestyle final produced arguably the closest and best standard for some years, after four swimmers went under the 50-second barrier in the morning heats.

It proved a battle between the 50 metre sprinters stepping up against the 200m freestylers coming down.

In the end the 200m freestyle champion Matthew Stanley powered home to win in 49.59s to edge out 50m freestyle winner Daniel Hunter who was second in just 3/100ths of a second behind.

Corey Main finished third in 49.72s and together with Sam Perry, who went 49.48 in the morning heats, it means that New Zealand has qualified a team in the 4x100m freestyle relay for the world championships.