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Erika Fairweather will take plenty of confidence from last night’s race.
She eventually touched the wall in 4min 07.27sec, qualifying first for this morning’s final, scheduled for 7.48 (NZ time).
Fairweather trailed McIntosh most of the way, but did not let her pull away. She stuck by the Canadian, before kicking on the final lap, pushing past her to win the race by 0.09sec.
Australian star Ariarne Titmus will be her biggest contender, alongside McIntosh.
The Olympic champion will have plenty more to give in the final, looking to have been saving energy as she cruised to win her heat in 4min 08.25sec.
Fellow star Lani Pallister also cruised in 4min 09.77sec, finishing second to Titmus in the final heat.
New Zealander Eve Thomas also reached the final, finishing in 4min 11.50sec to qualify seventh.
New Zealand double gold medallist Lewis Clareburt finished second in his 200m IM heat last night, his time of 2min 01.12sec qualifying him sixth for the final.