Boyle in fine form at swimming champs

Last updated 08:35 02/10/2012
Lauren Boyle
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ

SHINING LIGHT: Lauren Boyle, who reached the 400m and 800m freestyle finals, was the lone highlight from the New Zealand swimming team at the London Olympics.

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London Olympic swimmer Lauren Boyle was in a class of her own on the second night of finals at the national short-course championships in Wellington last night.

Boyle won the 800m freestyle in eight minutes 15.73 seconds, which was 13s inside the qualifying mark for December's world championships in Turkey and ranks her sixth in the world this year.

There was further celebration when talented sprinter Nielsen Varoy broke the New Zealand record in winning the 50m freestyle at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre.

Varoy, 21, snuck under Cameron Gibson's 2007 record of 22.12 by 0.02 as the lead-off swim in the men's club freestyle relay. After topping qualifiers in the individual heats with 22.16, the big Aucklander, coached by former Olympian Paul Kent, reduced the record even further, to 22.01, in winning the final impressively from top backstroker Corey Main and Kurt Crossland.

"He is a big guy at over 2m and freestyle is actually a very technical stroke especially at high speed for a tall guy," said Kent.

"He had a huge amount of promise as a youngster and hopefully this will stir him along to really start to believe in himself.'

"He has taken a good chunk off the short course record here and will have another crack in the relay to see how close he can get to the world champs qualifying mark of 21.85. We don't have kicker blocks here in Wellington so that would cost him a little bit.

"The aim now will be to expose him to more competition of a higher standard and see how far he can progress. Sprinters mature late and with Rio four years away, he has the potential to challenge for a spot there for sure."

Boyle, who only recently returned to the pool after her outstanding performances in London, produced a class effort, swiping more than a second off her previous national record.

In other finals Samantha Richter took out the women's 100m freestyle in 55.17s from the Capital pair of Samantha Lee and Olympian Tash Hind. However, Lee got the upper-hand over Sophia Batchelor and Richter in winning the 50m butterfly in 26.98.

Tauranga's Nathan Capp beat off Nick Gillum to claim the 400m individual medley while Katie Kenneally was impressive in winning the 200m breaststroke.

The championships continue until Thursday.

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