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Bar Raised for Swimmers for Commonwealth Games

New Zealand swimmers will need to prove they are capable of making finals if they are to secure a place in the team for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Swimming New Zealand has announced challenging selection standards for the July’s Games in Glasgow which are largely in line with the qualifying times for last year’s Olympic Games. The qualifying times fulfil the New Zealand Olympic Committee criteria of a top six ranking in the Commonwealth based on times set in London.

“We have no issue with the criteria for the Commonwealth Games. Glasgow is not a development meet. It is our pinnacle event for 2014 and we would want our swimmers to be at this level if they wish to be successful in Glasgow and look forward to the Rio Olympics,” said Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director, Luis Villanueva.

More than half of the men’s qualifying times for Glasgow are actually slower than for the recent world championships and while most of the women’s qualifying times are slightly faster, they are adjusted based on the current improving world standards of female swimmers from Commonwealth countries.

Half of the successful world championship qualifying times recorded at this year’s national championships were faster than the required Commonwealth Games standard with the remainder only fractionally outside.

“Our aim is for our swimmers to continue to improve from last year to this year to next year and so on. If we want to be competitive and make finals in Rio in 2016, then achieving a top-six time in the Commonwealth based on times from last year is a realistic target.

“It is tough for sure but attainable if our swimmers continue to show good attitude and hard work.”

Swimming New Zealand said next year is a massive one for the sport, offering many opportunities for both elite and development swimmers.

As well as the Commonwealth Games, elite swimmers will compete in the quadrennial Pan Pacific Championships, involving full strength non-European nations including USA and Australia, which will be staged across the Tasman for the first time since 1999. Pan Pacific nations won 24 of the 40 titles at the recent world championships.

Additionally development swimmers have the chance to compete at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, the second Youth Olympic Games, and the Oceania Championships to be staged in Auckland.

“There are several key international meets in 2014 for all of our competitive swimmers who have the desire to push for a place in the team for Rio in 2016. The qualifying times for the Commonwealth Games are an important step towards this but not the only opportunity next year.”