Swimming: More have Olympics in sight

Hayley Palmer is within reach of qualification in the women's 50m freestyle. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Hayley Palmer is within reach of qualification in the women's 50m freestyle. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The final night of the New Zealand swimming championships is set to offer more Olympic qualifying opportunities after some strong performances in this morning's heats at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Waitakere.

The North Shore pair of Samantha Richter and Hayley Palmer are both within reach of qualification in the women's 50m freestyle. Richter, who broke the national record in the 50m butterfly this week, topped heat times in 25.56, 45/100ths of a second outside the qualifying time for the Olympics, with Palmer, a Beijing Olympian, only a touch further back as third fastest.

Sandwiched between them is Auckland-based American Rhi Jeffrey.

Daniel Bell, who went under the qualifying mark in his preferred 100m backstroke earlier in the meet, was fastest in the 100m butterfly in 54.09. The winner of the final tonight will need to go at least this time or faster to allow for a men's medley relay team to attempt an Olympic qualifying time in the relay tonight.

Beijing Olympian Melissa Ingram, who went under the qualifying time in the 200m backstroke at last year's world championships, swam strongly this morning to clock 2:11.47 in the heats. This is only half a second outside the qualifying mark for London.

The session was sealed with a New Zealand record for North Shore's Lauren Boyle, who clocked 16:20.47 in the 1500m freestyle, a non-Olympic event. It was five second inside the national record set by Cara Baker last year.

It completed a gruelling and rewarding schedule for Boyle, who went under the qualifying times for the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle as well as being part of the women's 4x200m freestyle relay.

The team for the London Olympics will be named at the end of tonight's racing.

- APNZ

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