Swimmer Snyders plotting a path for success
Glenn Snyders will fly from Auckland to Los Angeles next week, knowing he's bound for Glasgow.
The breaststroke specialist will be part of a small New Zealand swimming team named tonight to contest the Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this year.
Snyders went under the tough qualifying times set for the Games at this week's New Zealand Open swim champs in Henderson in the 100 metres and 200m breaststroke when winning gold in the two events.
That made it a case of mission accomplished for the 27-year-old, who has been based in California over the past two years.
"All I came to do at trials was to qualify and I did that twice, so that was all I could ask for," Snyders said on Wednesday after twice beating the qualifying mark for the 100m event.
He now plans to return to training under the guidance of top coach Dave Salo in LA.
"I would like to stay there for a solid two-and-a-half to three months," Snyders said.
"There's quite a few competitions in May and June that I will probably race at, and the racing over there is top notch, so it's good to do some racing before Commonwealths."
Snyders said his permanent shift to the US was designed to give him his best shot at contesting a third Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
"It was something new, something exciting. I'd been at the Millennium [Swimming NZ's headquarters on the North Shore] for about 12 years - I just needed something different to be honest if I wanted to make it to Rio."
"I just got to the point where I was the only breaststroker really and, just being in the same place every day for 12 years - I needed something different. America had always been in the back of my mind - I wanted to go to college but that didn't work out because I wanted to go to the Olympics."
Salo was the head US women's coach at last year's world championships in Barcelona and is recognised as an excellent breaststroke coach.
Snyders works with Salo in a post-graduate professional squad at the University of Southern California with a host of internationals and Olympic medallists to help him lift his performances.
"Change is good" became Snyders' mantra.
"I'm getting older now and another four years was a hard ask," he said of his ambitions to finish his career on a high in Rio.
"I still have the drive and the passion to do it - it was just finding the thing that helps. Moving to the States and being in that environment at USC is great and it really helps."
However, Snyders said he doesn't expect all of New Zealand's top swimmers to follow in his wake - despite the current success of Lauren Boyle, who went through the University of California, Berkeley swim programme, and Auckland teenager Corey Main, who is now at the University of Florida and will also be going to Glasgow after qualifying in the 100m backstroke yesterday.
"Everyone has their own visions and goals," Snyders said.
"I was in a programme that I enjoyed back here in New Zealand. I was in with a good group of people and I progressed every year, I got better and better.
"It works for some people and it doesn't work for others. There are a good bunch of programmes here in New Zealand that delivers medallists too.
"It was something I wanted to do, whether they [Swimming NZ] backed me or not. And they do back me, so it's great to have that support."
Success in Glasgow won't be easy for Snyders - among his rivals for the 100m and 200m breaststroke are 2012 London Olympics 100m gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh from South Africa and top Australian Christian Springer.
- Fairfax Media
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