New Zealand's top performing swimmer at the London Olympics, Lauren Boyle, is hoping to go one better at the world short course championships in Turkey next week.
The 24-year-old has already left for Europe with coach Mark Regan to ensure she is well acclimatised for the five-day meet at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, where drop-in pools have been erected in the arena used for major events including European football, the world basketball championships, WTA tennis and major concerts.
Boyle finished fourth in the 800m freestyle in London and hopes to push on to the podium in the 25m pool world championships where she has entered the 200, 400m and 800m freestyle.
The six New Zealand swimmers are led by Olympians Boyle, her North Shore clubmate Melissa Ingram and Matamata's Matthew Stanley. They are joined by Howick Pakuranga club teenagers Ewan Jackson and Corey Main along with Australian-based Christchurch sprinter Cameron Simpson.
Two swimmers who qualified, North Shore's Glenn Snyders and Sophia Batchelor (AquaGym, Christchurch), have both opted out of the championships.
Snyders, who qualified during the recent World Cup circuit, wants to focus on next year's world long course championships while Batchelor, the sole 2011 representative, has been focusing on school studies.
Around 900 swimmers are expected to compete in Turkey including Olympic champions Ryan Lochte (United States), France's Florent Manaudou, Italian Federica Pellegrini and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh.
New Zealand has won eight individual and two relay medals at the world short course championships over the last 20 years, with the last coming at Manchester in 2008 when Moss Burmester won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly and the men's medley relay combination claimed a bronze medal.
The top ranked New Zealand swimmer is Boyle, who is ranked sixth in the world this year in the 800m freestyle with her national record 8:15.73, while Ingram is seventh in 2012 over the 200m backstroke set during the recent World Cup meet in Beijing.
Ingram, 27, sparked her international career when she won the bronze medal at the 200m backstroke at the 2004 world short course championships in Indianapolis.
The balance of the team heads to Turkey tomorrow with the championships starting next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, one of Swimming New Zealand's three high performance coaches, Scott Talbot, is to take up a new role in Australia.
Talbot will begin a new position created by New South Wales Institute of Swimming and Sydney University starting in January.
Swimming New Zealand said in a statement they are disappointed to lose Talbot but wish him well.
SNZ expects to announce a new high performance director before the end of the year and a replacement for Talbot will follow in due course.
- © Fairfax NZ News