Women's relay team miss final; Kean gone

SIMON PLUMB IN LONDON
Last updated 23:22 01/08/2012

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A New Zealand record by the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team has not been enough to earn an Olympic final.

And there was more frustration for New Zealand swimming at London 2012 tonight, with Gareth Kean crashing out of the men's 200m backstroke heats.

After top swimmer Lauren Boyle removed herself from the women's realy team in preservation for tonight's 800m freestyle heats, Natasha Hind, Samantha Lucie-Smith, Amaka Gessler and Melissa Ingram came home in 7:55.92 - six-tenths of a second inside the previous mark which Boyle was a part of.

The result ends the Olympic campaigns of Hind, Gessler and Lucie-Smith, but the team were happy with their record time.

"We're over the moon, we all stepped up and did an awesome job. It was the best we could do," Gessler told Fairfax Media.

Ingram, one of the most senior members of New Zealand's Olympic squad, said Boyle's withdrawal was "the right decision for her."

"Lauren made her decision and it was the best decision for her," Ingram said.

"For us we knew that was the situation and well all stepped up and focussed on making that final and doing a New Zealand record.

"We got the record, but it wasn't quite enough to make the final. But we can't ask for any more than that."

Ingram's Games continue tonight in the 200m backstroke heats from 10.31pm.

Meanwhile, Gareth Kean has crashed out of the 200m backstroke.

The Wellington swimmer was eighth fastest in his heat almost three-and-a-half seconds off his national record.

It's the same event Kean won a silver medal in at the 2012 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Kean said when he woke this morning in London, he knew he wasn't feeling on top form.

"I wasn't feeling too well in the warm-up today. Sometimes you wake up feeling like that and there's nothing you can really do about it," Kean told Fairfax Media.

"I really wanted to produce my best in that race, at last year's world championships I bombed out of it because I prepared more for the 100m.

"Here I felt like I'd prepared a bit more, but obviously it didn't pay off."

Kean must now dust himself off for the backstroke leg of the men's 4x100m medley relay on Friday night.

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- Fairfax Media

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