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The start of something extraordinary

Swimmers challenged to perform for world champs selection

New Zealand swimmers will have to stand up and be counted next week if they want to earn places in the team for December’s FINA World Championships (25m).

They will need to crack the FINA A standard times at the State New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington starting on Sunday to qualify for the world championships.

Most of the London Olympians are competing, led by the outstanding Lauren Boyle who is keen to qualify for the world championships in Turkey.

She has the confidence in that she has already gone well under the qualifying times for the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle.

There are 14 performances in the qualifying period under the standard which is based on top 16 in the world, either in a short course meet or converted from long course, with a number of others within reach of the mark.

There’s no excuse for not achieving fast times at the at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre, with the configuration changed to use the deeper end of the 50m pool for the 25m championships.

“We’ve worked with the Wellington City Council to make the changes we wanted which has meant changing the configuration of the pool to operate at the deep end” said Swimming New Zealand Events Manager, Kent Stead.

“Greater water depth will help produce fast times, and they certainly have that with most of that end in 5m water.”

Making the top-16 in the world standard is also no guarantee of a fully paid campaign to the world championships.

Swimming New Zealand will only fully fund qualifying performances ranked in the top eight in the world, with any surplus funds distributed to any other qualified swimmers who will have to fund the remainder.

“We have a fixed budget for these championships,” said Acting CEO Mark O’Connor. “As an organisation we are moving through the implementation of a new Board, establishing a new High Performance Director and working closely with High Performance Sport NZ on that planning going forward.

“Until that stage we are working very much to our available budget and our swimmers will need to step up and be counted next week to earn a fully paid place in the team for the world championships.

“We have always been very transparent in terms of selection criteria for major meets, where they have always had to meet the highest FINA qualifying criteria, and we have asked for even more from them next week.”

Four swimmers who will not be there are the North Shore pair of Glenn Snyders and Melissa Ingram plus Michael Jack from West Auckland Aquatics and Christchurch sprinter Cameron Simpson who are competing in the FINA World Cup which begins in Dubai next Tuesday.

The State NZ Short Course championships begin on Sunday and run through to Thursday with sessions from 9am and 6pm daily.