Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

FINA World Swimming Championships - NZ Heats Day 6

Lauren Boyle has qualified second fastest in heats of the 800m freestyle, breaking the Oceania and New Zealand records in the process at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

Boyle will have 32 hours to recover before she attempts to emulate the feat of the great Danyon Loader to win three medals at the world championships. Her two podiums to date are the first by a New Zealander since Loader’s three medals at Rome in 1994, while Kiwis have only won eight medals in the 40 year history of the championships.

The 25 year old from Auckland, who won bronze medals in the 400m and 1500m freestyle, produced a superbly judged effort to win her heat tonight in 8:21.00, which took nearly two seconds off her national record she set at the London Olympics.

After her initial 29.27 opening 50m, Boyle reeled off 15 lengths all in the 31 second range, with only half a second separating her fastest and slowest.

Following her outstanding performance in the heat, she watched double gold medallist Katie Ledecky (USA) again edge out Danish legend Lotte Friis, the 2009 world champion, with the young American only a blink faster than Boyle.

Swimming pundits labelled the world record shootout between Ledecky and Friis in the 1500m as one of the best races of all time and now a New Zealander threatens that party in what is a mouth-watering prospect in the 800m final tomorrow night (local time).

Meanwhile eighteen year old Cantabrian Sophia Batchelor will be the only Kiwi in the pool for the evening session today, after she qualified for the semifinals of the 50m butterfly.

She clocked 26.45s to be second in her heat, only 15/100ths of a second outside her own national record. Batchelor was 11th fastest overall to make it through to the semifinals, where transformed British freestyler Francesca Halsall and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray were fastest in 25.69.

Batchelor returned to the pool 30 minutes later in the 200m backstroke, where she clocked 2:12.89 in the penultimate heat. Her time was nearly a second outside her personal best and 20th fastest overall, to miss out on a second semifinal spot.


Heats, Women 50m butterfly (overall): Francesca Halsall (GBR) and Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN), 25.69, equal 1; Ly Ying (CHN) 25.82, 3. Also: Sophia Batchelor (NZL) 26.45, 11.

Women 200m backstroke, overall: Missy Franklin (USA) 2:07.57, 1; Belinda Hocking (AUS) 2:07.64, 2; Hilary Caldwell (CAN) 2:07.81, 3. Also: Sophia Batchelor 2:12.89, 20.

Women 800m freestyle: Katie Ledecky (USA) 8:20.65, 1; Lauren Boyle (NZL) 8:21.00, 2 (Oceania, NZ Record); Lottie Friis (DEN) 8:23.00, 3.