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The start of something extraordinary

Boyle Continues on Winning Way in Tokyo World Cup

Lauren Boyle produced an outstanding second half of her swim to beat world record holder Mareia Belmonte of Spain in the 800m freestyle at the FINA World Cup in Tokyo today.

Boyle, the world short course champion at the distance, scored her third victory midway through the six-meet cluster of World Cup events in Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing that will complete the seven-city series.

The 25 year old had to work overtime to beat off the challenge from Spaniards Belmonte and Melanie Costa in the opening 800m freestyle final in Singapore. Tonight Costa opted for the 200m only and Belmonte just the 800m freestyle, but nothing could stop the Kiwi.

Boyle swum on the shoulder of Belmonte for close to half distance before taking the lead for the first time at the 350m mark. However the Spaniard, a double silver medallist at the London Olympics, proved difficult to shake, trailing Boyle by only half a second at the 650m mark.

The New Zealander then upped the ante with three double lengths each less than 30 seconds to power clear to win in 8:06.75. Belmonte finished more than two seconds back in second, while third placed American Rebecca Mann was 12 seconds in arrears.

Boyle’s time, while still over four seconds off her best, was more than three seconds faster than her winning time in Singapore, and she recorded a highly impressive negative split, swimming the second half of the race nearly three seconds faster than the first 400m.

Boyle returned to the pool approximately 15 minutes after her 800m to finish fifth in the final of the 200m freestyle in 1:55.28, which was 2.5 seconds faster than her time in Singapore.

She will contest the 400m freestyle on the second day tomorrow, before heading to Beijing for the final meet on 13 and 14 November.

Results, FINA World Cup Tokyo, Day 1:
800m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (NZL) 8:06.15, 1; Mireia Belmonte (ESP) 8:08.40, 2; Rebecca Mann (USA) 8:18.47, 3.
200m freestyle: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 1:53.12, 1; Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 1:53.15, 2; Emma McKeon (AUS) 1:53.32, 3. Also: Lauren Boyle (NZL) 1:55.28, 5.