Lauren Boyle withdraws from World Championships
New Zealand's top swimmer and 2016 Olympic medal prospect Lauren Boyle won't defend her world freestyle title next week because of ongoing coaching issues at Swimming New Zealand.
Boyle, whose star has been on a steady rise since finishing fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, had intended to defend her 800m world short course title in Doha next week.
However, she will surrender the title without challenge - with Swimming NZ claiming the athlete has withdrawn from the key event and is instead "engaged on determining her personal coaching plans."
Already this year Boyle has taken it upon herself to seek appropriate coaching, having arranged a stint with world-respected Fred Vergnoux in the run-up the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - where she won gold.
It now appears Boyle's coaching issues are ongoing and suggests Swimming NZ's latest head coach, David Lyles, who was only appointed by Swimming NZ in May last year, is not the coach for her.
In May 2012, the governance of Swimming NZ was slammed by a third major investigation of the sport in four years – all of which were paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer.
Swimming NZ has since claimed reform, but on the eve of Crown entity High Performance Sport New Zealand sitting down to finalise its public funding decisions for elite Kiwi sport going forward, it's a startling development for an embattled sport and its star athlete. Boyle is not the only Kiwi who has withdrawn from the world short course championships either.
Matt Stanley, who rose to the fore after breaking two of Danyon Loader's national freestyle records, has also pulled out.
Swimming NZ says in Stanley's case, the athlete has: "had his recent focus on study and university examinations."
New Zealand will now be represented by just two swimmers at the short course world championships next week – breaststroker Glenn Snyders and distance freestyler Nathan Capp,
In a press release, Swimming NZ described the situation for Boyle and Stanley as: "they have withdrawn to focus on their long term build-up for the all-important 2015 season where the long course world championships will provide the key for their 2016 Rio Olympic campaigns."
Swimming NZ said Boyle is "disappointed" by having to withdraw from her world title defence.