Auckland swimmer specialist Corey Main has squeaked into tonight’s semi-finals of the 100m backstroke with a personal best performance.

Main, 21, recorded 53.99s to grab the final qualifying spot. He had 0.12s to spare over the 17th swimmer. The fastest qualifier was Frenchman Camille Lacourt in 52.96s.

Not surprisingly, Main was delighted to advance.

“The swim felt quite good,” he said. “The legs stung a bit at the end. But a personal best is good for a heat swim.

“My training suggests I can go quicker than that tonight.”

The other two New Zealand swimmers involved in today’s heats, including freestyle star, failed to advance.

Boyle, swimming in the 400m freestyle, recorded 4min 07.90s, which turned out to be good enough only for 14th, with eight going through to the final. The fastest qualifier was American superfish Katie Ledecky, potentially one of the stars of the Rio games. Though never stretching herself, she swam 3min 58.71s, just a click of the fingers off her own world record.

Boyle, a former world championship bronze medallist in the 400m freestyle, has a personal best of 4min 03.63s, but was well off that today.

The 28-year-old, who has not had the easiest of years with various health problems, swims in the 800m freestyle later in the meet.

"Once I got to the start blocks I put all the illness issues behind me," she said. "I gave it everything I had. But today that wasn't good enough which was very disappointing.

"I can't dwell on it. I have to switch my focus to the 800 in two days' time."

Waikato freestyler Matthew Stanley went close to making the semi-finals in the 200m freestyle.

Stanley recorded 1min 47.37s to finish in 20th, with the top 16 going through. The fastest qualifier was China’s Yang Sun in 1min 45.75s and Stanley would have needed 1min 47.15s to go through.

He said he was pleased with how he set up his race, but that three weeks out of the pool last month with an ankle injury had cost him.

“I had nothing left in that last length. That cost me around 0.5s at least.”

Stanley came into the games ranked 30th in the world, so 20th was no mean effort. He was only 0.04s off his New Zealand record.

Swimming times seem to advance exponentially – when Danyon Loader won the gold medal in the 200m freestyle in Atlanta in 1996, his time was 1min 47.63s.

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Danyon Loader Corey Main Lauren Boyle Matthew Stanley
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