Matt Stanley Claims Olympic Qualifying Standard in New Zealand

Matt Stanley, 200m Freestyle during the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships, Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 29 March 2016 Photo: Simon Watts / www.bwmedia.co.nz
Photo Courtesy: Simon Watts/BW Media

By Dave Crampton

Matthew Stanley became the third New Zealand freestyler to reach the qualifying standard for Rio on day two of the 2016 New Zealand Open Swimming Championships in Auckland.

The 24 year old clocked 1:47.68 for the 200m freestyle in the morning heat to go under the standard by 29/100ths of a second. He will have work to do to reduce the time on his middle 100m after winning the final in 1:48.34. He`ll have to do a personal best in the heats at Rio to progress. At the 16th FINA World Championships he was 28th in the event.

“Doing the qualifying time is enough for this meet but I have a lot of hard work to do from here and I am a bit disappointed,” he said.

“This morning I swam the race pretty well. It was a lot more controlled than tonight. I think I rushed it a little bit so there is a lot to work on.”

Matt Stanley, 200m Freestyle during the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships, Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 29 March 2016 Photo: Simon Watts / www.bwmedia.co.nz

Photo Courtesy: Simon Watts/BW Media

His effort brings the New Zealand tally to three swimmers on their way to Rio, after Lauren Boyle and Emma Robinson qualified the previous night. All three swimmers train at the Gold Coast in Australia.

Double Olympian Glenn Snyders had a solid workout for his targeted 100m breaststroke later in the week by regaining his national title in the 200m distance, after losing it to Julian Layton last year. The Los Angeles-based Snyder clocked 2:12.41, his fastest time in four years, but a second outside the Rio time. Layton was third in 2:14.36, behind George Schroder, who clocked 2:13.93.

In Para-Swimming action, six swimmers went under the qualifying level for nomination for the Paralympics in the women’s 100m backstroke, after a full 10 swimmers – a first for New Zealand – made up a full final in the event.

Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher, who have 16 world titles between them, went under the standard in the heats, along with Rebecca Dubber, Nikita Howarth, and newcomer Bryall McPherson. All five went faster again in the evening finals and were joined by Tupou Neiufi. Pascoe (S10) clocked 1:07.76 and Fisher (S11) 1:19.01, with Fisher collecting gold as placings are determined on world record percentage.

“I was really happy with my 100 back tonight,” Fisher said. “It was 0.2 seconds over my personal best and 0.5 seconds outside the S11 World record. It’s all tracking well for the whole team.”

Junior world champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili took out the 50m backstroke in 27.97s ahead Bobbi Gichard. Both will contest the 100m event on Wednesday and could potentially qualify for Rio.

Swimming New Zealand contributed to this report.