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Lauren Boyle produces exceptional swim

March 19, 2013
Lauren Boyle

Lauren Boyle

Three qualifying swims, two national records and the emergence of a potential new star highlighted the second day of the New Zealand swimming championships in Auckland yesterday.

World champion Lauren Boyle produced an exceptional swim to break her own national record in the 1500m freestyle in the second-fastest time in the world this year and 10 seconds inside the A-qualifying time for July’s world championships.

Fellow London Olympian Matthew Stanley was nearly 0.5s inside his own New Zealand record in winning the 200m freestyle in one minute 47.13 seconds, and more than a second inside the qualifying time for the Barcelona championships.

Wellington’s Gareth Kean joined the pair on the team to Barcelona when he took out the 100m backstroke in 53.76, his second swim of the day under the qualifying time.

This high-profile group were potentially upstaged by exciting 13-year-old prospect Bobbi Gichard, of Hawke’s Bay, who won the women’s 100m backstroke in a time that qualified her for the junior world championships.

Boyle reeled off consistent splits in the 32-second range before powering home in 16:16.83, 4sec under her previous record and the 11th-fastest time in the world for last year.

The result somewhat surprised Boyle who may now consider taking the event more seriously.

“I have never really considered the 1500 as a potential medal event because I am such a novice at it, but if I can continue to work on it and keep improving at a similar rate it would be fantastic,” Boyle said.

She believes her hard work at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain, last month has proved a help.

“I think especially in the longer races the benefits of the altitude training really helped. I felt much stronger in this race than in the shorter races.

“The key tonight was just relaxing because I did not have any time-orientated goals so I just went in to enjoy it and I think that helped.”

Stanley produced a stunning performance in the 200m freestyle, dipping under his own national record and cementing his place on the world championship team with his second qualifying time of the meet.

A national record was a surprise to the 21-year-old but his strong race plan paid off.

Kean went under the qualifying mark in the morning heat in 53.73, nearly a second inside the qualifying mark and only 0.3s outside his national record. He was a blink of the eye slower in dominating the evening final, which pleased Kean who has had a limited buildup this year.

Teen sensation Gichard won her first national open title in the 100m backstroke. The 13-year-old from the Greendale club was third at the 50m mark but finished strongly to produce a world junior championship qualifying time, along with another 13-year-old, Gabrielle Fa’amausili, of the Laser Mt Eden Club.

“I’m just so excited. I’m a bit tired though,” Gichard said. “Now I have to try and qualify for Dubai in the 200m backstroke and just do what my coach tells me.”

Last night’s action brings the number of swimmers qualified for the world championships to five, with Boyle and Stanley having qualified in two events.

The championships continue until Friday.

Fairfax NZ News

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