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The start of something extraordinary

Attention Turns to 800m Showdown at World Swimming Championships

New Zealand attention turns to tomorrow’s 800m freestyle showdown for Lauren Boyle at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

The 25 year old was second fastest in qualifying today and has more than a full day to recover for her final.

Focus in the pool tonight went on 18 year old Christchurch swimmer Sophia Batchelor who matched her best to finish fifth in her semifinal of the 50m butterfly and 11th fastest overall in an excellent performance. She was just 0.2s outside qualification for tomorrow’s final.

Meanwhile Boyle had the evening off with the 800m freestyle on tomorrow night’s programme.

After bronze medals in the 400m and 1500m freestyle finals, a third podium would elevate Boyle equal to the three world championship medals won by the great Danyon Loader at Rome in 1994.

Head coach David Lyles said he was impressed with her heat swim this morning, with her 8:21.00 breaking her own national record and the Oceania mark.

“She swam very strongly. Her pacing was excellent and being in the first seeded heat she had to go a bit faster than she normally would have done because the girls following her were of such high calibre.

“Breaking the record was a bonus but she was very confident and very smooth and I think there is more to come.”

A key is her recovery which went well earlier in the week.

“She recovered very well from the 1500 which was obviously twice the distance.  The recovery should be faster. She has trained extremely well and hard and very long for this so the recovery is not an issue.

“It has been a long week and she has done something like 4000m of racing which is an awful lot in eight days. So it is the mental recovery which is important but she is very confident, she is very proud of what she has achieved so far and she is really gunning for another successful race.”

Lyles said a key is her powerful finish.

“In the 400m she had the fastest final 50m of anyone in the field. In the 1500 she was gaining on the two girls in front from halfway. She is confident that she can go out fast but she can also finish fast so she has a lot of strengths.”

Wellington’s Gareth Kean is the sole New Zealander in the pool tomorrow morning in heats of the 50m backstroke on the penultimate day of competition.


Semifinal, women 50m butterfly (overall): Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 25.50, 1; Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 25.68, 2; Francesca Halsall (GBR) 25.90, 3. Also: Sophia Batchelor (NZL) 26.34, 11.