Batchelor aiming for personal bests in Barcelona

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2013
Sophia Batchelor
Photosport
BETTER PREPARED: Sophia Batchelor admits she is much better prepared for the world championships this time than she was for her first experience two years ago.

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Christchurch swimmer Sophia Batchelor has set herself some tangible targets at the world championships in Barcelona this week.

Her goal is to swim personal best times in the preliminary heats, and then go even faster in the semi-finals. If Batchelor can do that, a place in the final would not be out of the question.

The 18-year-old will be racing in the 50m and 100m butterfly, as well as the 200m backstroke.

She told The Press her focus was more on the process, rather than the result.

"The problem with swimming is, it's such an outcome-based sport. If you do everything to the best of your ability, you will get the best result.

"You have to focus on doing each of the little bits - the fastest dive, the strongest kicks. The result will be whatever the result is."

Batchelor was pleased with how her build-up for the world championships has been going. She has mixed up her pool programme, with boxing once or twice a week, which has strengthened her shoulders and improved her movement in the water.

"Boxing teaches you a lot. It's got an edge to it. It's a bit of cross fitness. I'm going to be a tougher athlete."

She heads into the world championship with confidence behind her after claiming the 50m and 100m butterfly, and 200m backstroke, national titles at the New Zealand championships in late March.

The AquaGym club member admits she is much better at dealing with the demands of elite swimming than she used to be.

At her first world championships in Shanghai in 2011, the then 16-year-old was overwhelmed by the occasion.

She vividly recalls being led into a "cattle run" of reporters, and photographers, after the race.

"I was freaking out. Now, I've been through that and seen the bright lights, and the brand new stadiums. I think I'm going to roll with the punches a lot better [in Barcelona].

"In the past, I've let the pressure get to me. There's so much riding on 57 seconds of your life [in the 100m butterfly]. It's crazy, but that's what it is."

Both Batchelor and her coach, Dave Prattley, agree something would have to go horribly wrong for her not to qualify for next year's Commonwealth Games.

She missed out on qualfying for last year's London Olympics in the 100m butterfly, by just 0.01sec.

Batchelor acknowledges it would be a special feeling to stand on the starting block at Glasgow after that gutwrenching experience. Whenever she competes in a race, she draws on that moment for inspiration, using it to fuel her fire.

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"I'm not carrying the heartbreak with me anymore, because I did for a very long time. What I'm carrying now is more determination.

"I'm not going to be standing on the start line, thinking about not making London. I'm going to be on the start line thinking about winning that race. I'm going to be totally immersed in the moment."

Swimming New Zealand team is: Sophia Batchelor (100m butterfly, 50m butterfly, 200m backstroke), Matthew Stanley (200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, medley relay), Lauren Boyle (400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 1500m freestyle), Glenn Snyders (50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, medley relay), Gareth Kean (50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, medley relay), Samantha Lucie-Smith (100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m individual medley), Shaun Burnett (200m butterfly, medley relay), Samantha Lee (200m butterfly), Mitchell Donaldson (200m individual medley), Nathan Capp (400m individual medley).

- The Press

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