Lauren Boyle hits second Olympic qualifying mark at New Zealand Open Swimming Championships

Lauren Boyle has now met the Olympic qualifying times in the 400m and 800m freestyle.
MATTHIAS HANGST/GETTY IMAGES

Lauren Boyle has now met the Olympic qualifying times in the 400m and 800m freestyle.

Lauren Boyle continues to show her class at the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships as she met her second Olympic qualifying time in three days.

Boyle, who impressed with her 800m freestyle on Monday, had to work harder to tick the box in the 400m freestyle at the Auckland event which forms an official trial for the Rio Games.

After just missing out in the morning heats, Boyle clocked 4:08.28 to be nearly one second under the Olympic qualifying standard. 

And with her build-up compromised with illness in January, the 28-year is confident she will only get better in the months leading up to the Games in August. 

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"I thought I was going a bit faster than I was so I am not that pleased with the time but it is always good to be on the team and do the qualifying time so I am happy with that," Boyle said.

"The qualifying time is quite a way off my best but I've had a broken build-up to this competition so I hope I can have a clear run now to Rio."

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Boyle's display comes after Bradlee Ashby and Helena Gasson met the qualifying standard in the 200m individual medley and 100m butterfly respectively in the morning heats.

It brought the New Zealand tally to five swimmers who have met the Olympic standard in six events after three days.

And the pair both went on to better their times in the evening session.

Ashby clocked 2:00:00 in the heats to not only go under the Olympic qualifying time in the 200m individual medley, but claim the 2007 New Zealand record set by Dean Kent.

The 20-year-old, coached by Clive Power, reset to go under the two minute barrier with a 1:59.76 to lower the national record again in the final.

"My coach challenged me to step up again tonight and try to break that two minute barrier and it worked out," Ashby said.

"I didn't have the stress of having to qualify so it was a matter of putting my head down and give that two minutes a crack. Any of those big barriers are more a mental thing than a physical thing but now I've gone under it then anything can happen from here."

Not to be outdone, Gasson took more than a second off her previous best in a time of 58.66 in the heat of the 100m butterfly to go under the qualifying time by 8/100ths of a second and break the previous national record set by Sophia Batchelor four years ago.

In the final individual event of the night, Gasson, 21, then stepped up to lower that mark again to 58.51s in an impressive performance before turning around to compete in the freestyle relay for her North Shore club.

"I took a while to believe what I've done and still going through that process but it is my dream and I am just so glad I get to live my dream," said Gasson.

Earlier, Howick Pakuranga sprinter Daniel Hunter came within a blink of reaching the qualifying standard in both the heat and the final of the 50m freestyle.

The 21-year-old clocked 22.31s to be only 4/100ths of a second outside the qualifying mark in the heat but better the 2008 national record of 22.37 of Beijing Olympian Orinoco Fa'amausili-Banse. 

Hunter pushed hard again in the final to win but came up just short in 22.41.

Meanwhile, Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher continued to turn heads in their Paralympic qualifying bids.

The pair went under the nomination standard in the heats and finals in the 50m freestyle and 200m individual medley where Pascoe was only a second outside her world record, clocking 2:26.87.

Te Awamutu's Nikita Howarth also went under the nomination time for Rio in the 200m individual medley in 2:57.90, along with Chris Arbuthnott (Icebreaker) in the 50m freestyle S9 and Hamish McLean (Wanaka) SM6 in the 200m individual medley to complete another impressive day for the Para-Swimmers.

In other swims, Chloe Francis (Parnell) won the women's 200m individual medley, Gabrielle Fa'amausili (United) took out the 50m freestyle and Chris Dawson (Enterprise Gisborne) won the 100m butterfly.

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