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Super swims kick off Super Saturday

19 January 2013

SWIMMING: Crowds are starting to build at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre for ‘Super Saturday’, and the morning’s swimming heats did not disappoint the excited spectators. All racers displayed solid form, which should make for thrilling finals on Saturday night.

The women’s 400m freestyle competitors put on a great show, with close finishes in both heats, which should result in a tight final this evening. Powerhouse Japan powered ahead in the first heat, with Tsuzumi Hasegawa finishing with the fastest qualifying time of 4:16.98, a full body length ahead of teammate Maho Takiguchi (4:21.46). The second heat was another close finish between Australia Green and Australia Gold, with AUS Green Amelia Gould (4:14.50) scraping in for first place just milliseconds ahead of Alanna Bowles of AUS Gold (4:14.68).

There were more close finishes in the men’s 400m freestyle, with heat 2 setting a high standard for the finals tonight. Luiz Lopes Melo (BRZ), Mack Horton (AUS GOLD) and Jack Mcloughlin (AUS GREEN) were neck and neck the entire race, with Horton scraping into first place just a second before Lopes Melo.

Women’s 100m butterfly was another close match, with the top four qualifiers for tonight’s final coming within a second of each other and only just outside the AYOF record (59.95) set in 2003 by Australian Jessicah Schipper. The final will prove to be a close match for Rino Hosoda (JPN), Jemma Schlicht (AUS GOLD), Sara Joo (HUN) and Madeline Groves (AUS GOLD).

The men’s 100m butterfly will be tense, with top qualifiers Takeshi Kawamoto of Japan and Alexander Graham of Australia Green finishing 0.02 of a second apart in their respective heats.

The 200m backstroke heats for both men and women showed good form amongst the top qualifiers. In the women's, Sydney Pickrem (CAN) fought off both Maho Tsujimoto of Japan and Caitlyn Richardson of Australia Gold to secure her place in the finals.

The men’s heats were not as close, with Nicholas Groenewald of Australia Green (2:05.06), teammate Michael Pratt (2:04.92) and Takeshi Kawamoto of Japan (2:04.71) all securing victories in their heats far ahead of their competitors. Kawamoto finished his heat a solid six seconds ahead of New Zealand born Bradlee Ashby, who finished second in the heat.

Swimming finals will commence on Saturday night at 6pm in Sydney Olympic Park Acquatic Centre. There’s sure to be some solid competition, so come down and check it out.

Hannah Moore

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