Dunlop-Barrett keen to make big Games splash

TARANAKI HOPE: Oakura’s Dylan Dunlop-Barrett swimming on day one of competition in Glasgow.
TARANAKI HOPE: Oakura’s Dylan Dunlop-Barrett swimming on day one of competition in Glasgow.

The waiting game is almost over for Taranaki's sole competitor at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Oakura's Dylan Dunlop-Barrett will step up on to starting block tonight - the swimming competition starts overnight - for the heats of the 400m men's individual freestyle.

It's not the only event the talented 23-year-old will tackle.

He's got the heats of the 200m individual freestyle as well as the 4x100m freestyle relay event on day two, before the heats of the 4x200m freestyle relay on day four.

"Because I was so close to the individual qualifying times in both the 200m and 400m freestyle, the NZOC has allowed me to swim in both individual events," he said this week.

"I have a realistic chance in the 400m final."

Dunlop-Barrett said his best medal prospect was with his relay teammates in the 4x200m.

"At this stage, I will anchor the team going in last. Australia, the best team in the world this year, are favourites but the other podium spots are wide open," said Dunlop-Barrett.

"A lot of teams, including us, are ranked on very similar times. We definitely have the talent to podium. It will really just come down to who puts it together the best."

Dunlop-Barrett said five swimmers were competing for four spots in both the relay teams.

The Kiwi swim team arrived in the Games village on Sunday and Dunlop-Barrett said the mood was positive.

"We're feeling confident. We have had a very consistent preparation and we are all physically ready to go. I would be very surprised if we didn't walk away with at least a few medals," he said.

"We had a good three-week training camp at altitude in Sierra Nevada in Spain, before racing in the French Open in Vichy in France."

The team has been based in Mallorca in Spain for the past two weeks.

"Being in a place like Mallorca boosts the whole team's spirits . . . it's impossible to be in a bad mood there."

It's the first Commonwealth games for Dunlop-Barrett, but he's no stranger to major competitions, having swum at the London Olympics.

The only downside for Dunlop-Barrett and the others in the swim team in Glasgow was having to head home early.

"After we finish competing, we only have two days in the Games village before heading home. It's a little bit disappointing that we can't stay for the second week and support the other sports, or see the closing ceremony, but we have to return home to prepare for the Pan Pacifics three weeks later on the Gold Coast," he said.

"It's a quick turnaround between the two major competitions, but I don't think it will be an issue." Swim queen ready: Page 19

Taranaki Daily News