Pool holds lure for Wellington's Emma Robinson

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Emma Robinson
ALMOST THERE: Emma Robinson is on the brink of qualification for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

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Emma Robinson will be happy to stick to the pool this year.

The Wellington teenager virtually assured herself a spot in the New Zealand swim team for the Commonwealth Games team when she finished third in the women's 200 metres freestyle in Henderson on Tuesday night.

Robinson took nearly four seconds off her previous best time for the event, breaking the two-minute barrier in 1:59.69 while finishing behind North Shore's Lauren Boyle, Capital team-mate Sam Lucie-Smith and ahead of another Capital swimmer, Tash Hind.

The combined times of the top four saw them go under the mark required to qualify a relay team for the 4x200m freestyle event in Glasgow later this year - meaning Robinson should contest her major event of 2014 in the pool instead of the sea.

In 2013, Robinson was 34th in her debut at the world Open Water champs 10km women's event in Spain.

And it wasn't a particularly enjoyable experience either - Robinson was among the leaders early before getting pulled under and whacked in the ribs, also losing her goggles and cap when pushed under buoy.

So it's no surprise when she expresses her preference for swimming inside.

"I think I have always loved the pool more," Robinson said on day two of the national champs ahead of her 800m freestyle final.

"I only really did open water because it just seemed to work, and I qualified for the worlds. It was more of a preparation towards this."

The 19-year-old is more of a long-distance specialist but the standards set by Boyle, the three-times bronze medallist at last year's world champs, make it tough to qualify individually for Glasgow.

That's why she and coach Gary Hurring took aim at the 200m relay team.

"I think it was my best chance of getting to Glasgow," Robinson said.

"So I decided that I'd do a little bit more work towards that, while also holding on to my longer distance races as well."

Robinson will contest the 800m, 400m and possibly 100m freestyle events at the four-day meet that doubles as the Commonwealth Games team trial.

"I'd really like to qualify for the Commonwealths in other events too, but I don't know if I'll get there," she said.

The NZ team for Glasgow will be named at the end of the meet on Friday night and Robinson expects that bettering the qualifying standard will ensure she's part of the squad.

"As soon as we look at the board, we know we're going. I think it's calmed my nerves quite a lot."

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Robinson also wants to ensure qualification for a number of events at the Pan Pacific champs on the Gold Coast in Australia soon after the Commonwealth Games and should do so, given her age allows her to qualify through a B standard.

And while Glasgow now occupies her thoughts, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro also gets some consideration.

"I think that's on everyone's minds here," she smiled.

- Fairfax Media

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