Swimming: Kiwis eye Olympic chances across Tasman

Kiwi swimmer Daniel Bell. Photo / Steven McNicholl.
Kiwi swimmer Daniel Bell. Photo / Steven McNicholl.

The wider qualification process for the London Olympics has enticed some swimmers across the Tasman for the Australian Olympic Trials starting tomorrow.

Ten New Zealand swimmers, including two based in Australia, will compete in the eight-day championships.

The New Zealand Olympic selection process for swimming was widened for London, with times set in last year's world championships and world university games along with all major FINA sanctioned meets this year eligible for qualification.

This includes the Australian Championships which double as Australia's official trial, with New Zealand-based swimmers entitled to compete in the heats only.

The change to the New Zealand qualification process was made after feedback from senior coaches and the swimming fraternity, following the Beijing Olympic qualification that was restricted to times set only in the finals at the New Zealand Open Championships.

To date four swimmers have bettered the London qualifying times, while the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team qualified directly after making the final at last year's world championships.

Four swimmers from Roskill Magic including Atlanta Olympian Sarah Catherwood and four from North Shore headed by Beijing Olympians Daniel Bell and Hayley Palmer will compete in the trials in Adelaide.

The other Roskill swimmers include talented breaststroker Luke Westgaard and sprinters Nielsen Varoy and Adam McDonald, while the North Shore quartet includes Grace Francis and Samantha Richter.

They will join Australian-based kiwis Cameron Simpson and Andrew McMillan.

The qualification period for New Zealand swimmers finishes at the conclusion of the State New Zealand Championships at West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland from March 25-30.

- APNZ

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