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The start of something extraordinary

Main buoyed by final effort as he looks to favoured swims

New Zealand swimmer Corey Main is looking forward to his favoured distance after his first final at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest today.

The Florida-based swimmer from the Howick Pakuranga club finished eighth in the final of the 100m backstroke in 53.87, and while he could not better his semifinal time, he has recorded two personal best swims in Hungary.

The 22-year-old is now looking forward to his favoured 200m backstroke in two days, pleased with the speed generated in the 100m backstroke and buoyed by competing in his first final at a world championship.

“I set myself up pretty well in the heats, and then in both the semifinal and final. I was really consistent which I was happy about, all under 54,” said Main.

“My strategy was to go out pretty hard and come home even harder. It was a tough field and I knew I had to keep up with their pace as much as I could.”

Main said he has made changes to his approach for these championships, which has paid dividends.

“I’ve really paid attention to my nutrition in this campaign and I’ve been a lot more consistent in my trainings, practices, the gym work and everything. It has really helped me get those two PBs.

“It’s going to set me up well for my next swims. The 200 is my bread and butter so it will be good to see how this speed works on the longer race. It’s a good confidence booster as well and will set me up for some excellent swims in the 200m back.”

Main found himself behind after the underwater start to trail the leaders by more than a second at the turn, but his backend strength showed through with a strong final 50m which was only 34/100ths of a second slower than the winner Jaiyu Xu of China.

Xu won in 52.44 ahead of Americans Matt Grevers and the Olympic champion and world record holder Ryan Murphy with Main eighth in 53.87.

Yesterday he edged under his entry time with a 53.93 in the heats and lowered this to 53.76 in the semifinal.

Earlier Bradlee Ashby was 29th in heats of the 200m butterfly in 2:00.53, which was a shade over his entry time. The 20 year old made a conservative start and while he finished strongly, he was over three seconds outside the final spot for a semifinal swim. Such is the depth of European swimming in this discipline in particular that Ashby was fourth fastest among Commonwealth swimmers competing.

CAPTION: (1) Corey Main in action in the 100m backstroke and (2) Bradlee Ashby in heats of the 200m butterfly at the FINA World Championships in Hungary.

Tomorrow’s heats feature Gabrielle Fa’amausili in the 50m backstroke, Sam Perry in the 100m freestyle, Helena Gasson in the 200m butterfly and Ashby returns for his favoured 200m individual medley.

Results, day 3 Final: Men 100m backstroke: Jiayu Xu (CHN) 52.44, 1; Matt Grevers (USA) 52.48, 2; Ryan Murphy (USA) 52.59, 3. Also: Corey Main (NZL) 53.89, 8.

Heats, Men 100m butterfly: Laszlo Cech (HUN) 1:54.08, 1; Daiya Seto (JPN) 1:54.89, 2; Viktor Bromer (DEN) 1:55.13, 3. Also: Bradlee Ashby (NZL) 2:00.53, 29.

Image Credit: Ian MacNicol

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