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North Shore swimmer Daniel Bell rang a warning with a strong performance on the second morning of heats in the State Insurance New Zealand Championship in Waitakere City.
Bell, the Beijing Olympian, impressed to top qualifiers in the men’s 200m backstroke at West Wave Aquatic Centre this morning.
The 19 year old was on schedule for a Commonwealth Games qualifying swim at the 150m mark before easing down to top the heats in 2:03.96 ahead of Gareth Kean (Capital) and Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga).
The championships double as the official Commonwealth Games Trials where qualifying times for New Delhi must be set in the evening finals only.
Olympian Hayley Palmer was fastest in the women’s 50m freestyle heats while fellow North Shore swimmer William Benson was fastest in the men’s 100m freestyle in 50.49 ahead of clubmate Andrew McMillan – a second outside the qualifying mark.
Tonight’s women’s 100m backstroke is shaping up as a highlight with national record-holder Emily Thomas fastest from North Shore clubmates Melissa Ingram and Jessie Blundell.
There’s also interest in the performance of Queensland-based Cara Baker, who has qualified already for the open water swim at the world championships, who topped qualifiers in the 800m freestyle and Rotorua’s Kane Radford was fastest of the men.
The finals start at 6pm tonight with the championships continuing until Friday. There is a special Skins and Charity event on Saturday featuring the current champions along with many of the greats from the past including Anthony Mosse, Paul Kingsman and Anna Simcic.
Full details: www.swimmingnz.org.nz