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The start of something extraordinary

Kiwis a touch off finals

New Zealand swimmers Daniel Hunter and Helena Gasson were a touch away from places in the finals on the penultimate day of pool action at the World University Games in Korea.

Gasson, from the Fairfield club, finished ninth fastest overall in the semi-finals of the gruelling women’s 200m butterfly in Gwangju, chasing a place in her first international final.

The Waikato University student clocked a personal best 2:12.83 but was just 0.4s off qualifying for the final after an excellent swim.

She made a strong start to be fourth after the first turn but dropped to seventh at the halfway mark. Gasson produced a consistent back half to the race but was out-touched at the wall for what proved the last qualifying spot for the final.

It was agonisingly close for Hunter who finished just 18/100ths of a second off making the final of the men’s 50m freestyle.

After qualifying eighth fastest from the morning heats, the in-form Counties Manukau swimmer clocked a strong 22.63s in the semi-final, up to his personal best and faster than the heat, to be 12th fastest, missing out on his second final.

The final day in the pool features relay action for the Kiwis with Hunter, Alex Peach, Shaun Burnett and Sam Perry combining in heats of the men’s 4x100m medley relay while Caroline Baddock, Natasha Lloyd, Gasson and Laura Quilter join for the women’s medley heats.

Saturday’s action turns to the open water with Kane Radford and Phillip Ryan competing in the 10km marathon swim.