Lauren Boyle has claimed her second bronze medal of the world swimming championships, hitting the podium in the 1500m freestyle in Barcelona this morning (NZT).
Producing 15min 44.71sec - 2sec outside the old world record and more than 30sec under the personal best she entered the meet with three days ago - Boyle was stunned with the time and a second world championship medal in 72 hours.
The race, a non-Olympic distance for female swimmers, was won by American teenager Katie Ledecky, the 800m Olympic champion, in a new world record of 15:36.53 followed by Denmark's Lotte Friis.
"I just can't believe I got a medal in the 1500m, it's amazing," Boyle said.
"It's the first time I've ever swum this race at a proper championships. I've never entered the 1500m before because I haven't been that competitive. It's really surprising - I'm so happy.
"I came in on a 16:16.00 and I've gone more than 30sec faster than that. It's amazing!
"I never knew I had that kind of potential. I remember when that world record was set, the 15:42.00, and I just remember thinking 'Oh my God, how could anyone ever do that?'."
Boyle, 25, said her tactics were to go out with a conservative pace and hope to come home strongly.
Concerned that Spanish Olympic 800m silver medallist, Mireia Belmonte Garcia, would chase her down, Boyle was pleased she was able to hold off her rival.
"I really didn't want to go out too hard, because I feel like I'm much better with a more controlled first half and a strong back end" Boyle said.
"I was really happy with how it went.
"I know that Belmonte, the girl in lane six, is such a good racer and I was actually pretty scared that she was going to roll me.
"But I managed to stay ahead and just kind of break it. I'm really happy."
New Zealand's top female swimmer now has two days to recover until her prime event, the 800m freestyle - in which she finished fourth at London 2012 and is the short-course (25m) world champion.
"I've got two whole days so we'll just have to see," she said.
"But I must have gone out in a quite a good 800m split. I must have been pretty fast."
Elsewhere, it was another positive day across the rest of the Kiwi squad, with Glenn Snyders notching New Zealand's fourth final in the first three days of the meet.
Snyders was third in his 50m breaststroke semifinal in 27.22sec, qualifying sixth-fastest for tomorrow morning's (NZT) final.
Backstroker Gareth Kean finished eighth in the final of the 100m backstroke in 54.25sec, while youngster Samantha Lucie-Smith was eighth in her semifinal of the 200m freestyle.
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