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New Zealand’s next crop of swimming stars has been battling it out at the New Zealand Open, ahead of several major international meets.

Commonwealth Games medallist Lewis Clareburt has been blitzing the field in his build up to Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, to be contested in Japan in August.

“The Pan-Pacs are a little more intense than Commonwealth Games because you’ve got the Americans and the Japanese in there so the level of swimmers you’re taking on goes up another notch which is awesome,” said Clareburt.

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Above: Clareburt competing at the Commonwealth Games

On day two of the NZ Open the 19-year-old won his 400m individual medley final by a staggering 12-and-a-half seconds.

He’s hoping that form will allow him to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with the Pan-Pacs a good competition to gauge how he measures up against some of the world's best swimmers.

“I’m after some solid times over there, I want to go faster than I did at the Commonwealth Games so if I can do that I’ll be really happy.”

Another young athlete posting strong results at the NZ Open is Aucklander Gina Galloway who’s been training extremely hard ahead of the meet.

“I’ve been doing eight pool swims and four gym sessions a week. Each pool session is an hour and a half swimming around 5-kilometers each time and gym’s an hour each time,” said Galloway.

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Above: Gina Galloway in action

On day one of the competition the 17-year-old met the qualifying time for the Youth Olympic Games, to be contested in Buenos Aires in October.

“Being in the Youth Commonwealth Games last year and getting a taste of an international competition in a multi-sport environment was really fun. That’s motivated me to try really hard this year and hopefully get selected for the Youth Olympics.”

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