Lauren Boyle home sick after an altitude scare

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 16/03/2014

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Illness has forced champion swimmer Lauren Boyle to curtail altitude training in Arizona ahead of next month's Commonwealth Games trials.

Unable to shake a virus, Boyle, 26, was taken to hospital by Swimming New Zealand staff on Tuesday evening (NZT), suffering exhaustion and dehydration.

The following day the 800m world short-course champion, and triple world long-course medallist, flew back to Auckland ahead of schedule, while the rest of New Zealand's high-performance squad continued heavy training and are due home this weekend.

Swimming NZ chose not to make any information about Boyle's health or early departure public, and on the same day staff escorted her to hospital, the organisation issued a media release entitled "altitude stint heightens hopes for New Zealand swimmers".

The release included a statement from head coach David Lyles which declared: "There's been no major illness or disasters, so in terms of adaptation to the environment we've had no issues."

When contacted by the Sunday Star-Times, chief executive Christian Renford admitted the media release was inaccurate and that he and his high-performance team were aware of Boyle's situation.

Renford claimed "an administrative oversight" was behind his taxpayer-funded organisation's failure to make the facts clear, adding "there was probably no thought given" to issuing a correction.

With national championships days away, which double as Commonwealth Games trials and a key performance indicator, Renford said it was "possibly" in the best interests of the athlete to have transparency around the situation.

"I think it's probably more important, for me, before we comment on any detail, is to find what the actual nature is," Renford said.

"I'm probably being vague, I don't have that information at hand."

Renford said he had been in contact with Boyle and she had "probably" returned to training.

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