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The start of something extraordinary

Synders, Ingram take on global World Cup swimming challenge

Olympic breaststroker Glenn Snyders is circling the globe to kick-start his plan to get on the Rio podium in four years time.

Snyders, 25, will compete in all eight rounds of the FINA World Cup in the Middle East, Europe and Asia starting in Dubai next week.

He will be joined by fellow North Shore Olympian Melissa Ingram in all the World Cup meets with a number of other New Zealand swimmers to compete in some rounds.

Snyders is digging into his own pocket to fund the trip which he believes will provide much needed international racing and the skill of backing up world class performances from morning to evening swims.

He set the fifth fastest time with a significant New Zealand record in the 100m breaststroke heats in London only to swim slower in the evening semifinal to miss out on a place in the final.

“This is about international racing experience, back-to-back racing, stepping up from heats to final, learning more about myself, how to react under pressure and fending for myself,” Snyders said.

“If I make the finals in all my events which is the aim, it will be 48 races in six weeks. That’s probably as many international races as I have had in my whole career. So it’s a lot of racing experience.

“Lack of world class competition is one of the big issues in New Zealand for me as a breaststroker. There are a couple of top breaststrokers in Australia but you can never be sure they will swim the same meets as you there.  So to have constant international racing experience will be invaluable.

Snyders dipped his toes in the World Cup waters last year with races in Berlin and Stockholm which whetted his appetite.

“I have decided to commit for another four years. There’s unfinished business really. I enjoyed the World Cup last year and doing the series gave me the incentive to get back in the pool and train hard, which mentally was tough after London."

Ingram, 27, has tasted more of the world cup in the past and has achieved success over the short course discipline, where she is a former world championship medalist.

“I have good skills. I’ve got a very strong kick especially underwater. Short course is fun, it will be tiring but you have to manage it. I make sure I do all my recover right and rest a lot.

“Eight meets is a lot but I have always wanted to do them all so I am quite excited. It is the best opportunity in swimming to meet new people from around the world and the friendships your forge on the world cup circuit carry with you for the years to come,” Ingram said.

There’s one difference between the two Olympians, with Ingram keen to use the opening two meets to qualify for December’s short course world championships in Turkey. Snyders is a likely non-starter.

“For me it will be a hard six weeks and then it is a further month before the worlds. I will bypass them to take a break out of the water so I can return to do a full build-up to next year’s long course world championships,” said Snyders.

“For me the world championships are a target. I’ve done a five-day drop taper for Dubai so I potentially should be going faster in Doha. It is a real goal for me and then I will decide in the New Year about my future in the sport,” said Ingram.

The pair leave on the weekend with the opening round next Tuesday and Wednesday in Dubai followed by Saturday and Sunday in Doha. The circuit moves to Europe for meets at Stockholm (13-14 October), Moscow (October 17-18) and Berlin (October 20-21) before the final three rounds in Beijing (2-3 November), Tokyo (6-7 November) and Singapore (10-11 November).

Joining them for the Middle East and European legs is Christchurch’s Cameron Simpson, who spends much of his time across the Tasman racing for the Somerset Swim Club in Queensland.

Taranaki-based Aucklander Michael Jack, who has excelled in the World Cup competition in the past, will also compete in Dubai and Doha.

North Shore swimmers Mitchell Donaldson, Matt Stanley and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett will take part in the three Asian meets in November.

Meanwhile open water swimmers Cara Baker (Howick Pakuranga), Charlotte Webby (AquaBladz, Taranaki), Caitlin Wall (Howick Pakuranga) and Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Auckland) are largely funding their own way to compete in the penultimate round of the FINA World Cup Marathon 10km in Hong Kong’s Repulse Bay on 7 October with Ryan staying on for the final round in Shautou, China six days later.