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The start of something extraordinary

Boyle into Record Books, Snyders into final

Lauren Boyle swam herself into New Zealand swimming history at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia today.

Boyle bagged a brilliant silver medal behind world record-setting Katie Ledecky (USA) in the 1500m freestyle final.

Her medal today brings her tally to four and therefore she becomes the most successful swimmer in world championships history for New Zealand, going ahead of the three medals won by double Olympic champion Danyon Loader.

It sparked an outstanding night for New Zealand Swimming with fellow double Olympian Glenn Snyders qualifying for the final of the 50m breaststroke.

It is only the ninth medal New Zealand has won at the world championships since 1978, which was by Gary Hurring who is the head coach at these championships.

In doing so Boyle smashed her own New Zealand record, clocking a stunning 15:40:14 to take nearly five seconds off her previous record set at the last world championships in Barcelona in 2013.

The final was dominated by Ledecky, who may potentially go down as the greatest swimmer of all time, who was in a stratosphere of her own to blitz her world record to clock 15:25:48.

But take nothing away from the 27 year old Boyle, who made an aggressive start to push into fourth, then rounded up Australian Jessica Ashwood on the third lap, and double world champion Lotte Friis (DEN) at the 700m mark.

Boyle’s relentless pace saw her fluctuate by just 0.3 seconds from her fastest to slowest lap aside from the opening 50m and her quite stunning final 50m of 30.52. Along the way she went within a blink of negative splitting the race.

While Boyle joked about her distance from winner Ledecky, she was delighted with a new personal best.

“Honestly that is the thing I am most proud of,” Boyle said. “I think for me improving my time to be better than I have been in the past is the most positive thing and I am so happy to go with a personal best time. That is really exciting.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I was going into race mode. I knew that if I wanted to have any chance I had to go out with a really fast pace. And I think I got into a pretty good rhythm.

“I get two full days off now before the 800 which is good. Definitely it should be good. You never quite know what will happen but I am really happy with that swim tonight and it shows I have some really good fitness."

Snyders made a hesitant start to his 50m breaststroke semifinal but fought through the field superbly in the final 15 metres to touch in fourth place, and sixth fastest overall. His 27.17s is his second fastest time ever, a tick behind his national record set three years ago.

The Los Angeles-based swimmer has a chance to grab that record tomorrow in the final which promises to be an exciting affair after two world records in the event today, ultimately falling to Adam Peaty (GBR) at 26.42s.

In the morning Snyders clocked an excellent 27.23s to finish seventh fastest in heats of the 50m breaststroke, in the same heat that South African Cameron van der Burgh broke his own world record in 26.62s.

In the morning heats Tauranga’s Nathan Capp set a New Zealand record in heats of the men’s 800m freestyle. The 22 year old, from Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre, was fifth in his heat in 7:57.61 to break his own national record.

His time was the 20th fastest and while he has missed out on qualifying, Capp has improved his world ranking by more than 30 places.

Waikato teenager Bradlee Ashby made his world championship debut to clock 2:04.31 to be 33rd ranked in heats of the 200m butterfly. The 19 year old, now based at Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre at AUT Millennium, has improved his world ranking after coming into the championships outside the world’s top 50.

Ashby returns to the pool tomorrow for the 200m individual medley and Bobbi Gichard in the 50m backstroke with Snyders on the evening programme in his 50m breaststroke final.

Results, women’s 1500m freestyle: Katie Ledecky (USA) 15:25.48, 1 (World Record); Lauren Boyle (NZL) 15:40.14, 2 (Oceania and New Zealand Record); Boglarka Kapas (HUN) 15:47.09, 3.

CAPTION: Lauren Boyle celebrates her success. (The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: Ian MacNicol).