Boyle enters unknown at short course champs

Last updated 09:21 12/12/2012
New Zealand's Lauren Boyle rests after finishing eighth in the final of the women's 400m freestyle at the London Olympics.
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
UNKNOWN: Lauren Boyle has had no race practice since the London Olympics as she prepares to challenge the world short course championships.

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New Zealand Olympic swimmer Lauren Boyle enters unknown waters when the world short course championships begin in Turkey tomorrow.

The 24-year-old, who was fourth in the 800m freestyle in London, comes into the championships as her first competition since the Olympics.

Boyle leads a six-strong New Zealand team in the five-day championships, with the North Shore swimmer satisfied that she is in good shape.

"My preparation has been has been good. While it would have been of benefit to get in a couple of racing experiences before this meet, I also rate the down time I had since the Olympics."

Boyle is the top ranked New Zealand swimmer, coming in ranked sixth in the 800m freestyle and seventh over the 400m freestyle, which she swims on days two and three respectively.

She said that skills are paramount in the 25m championships.

"In short course racing turns become even more of a focus. There is more of an emphasis on breath control and maximising the time you spend under the water.''

She faces some tough competition from the likes of Denmark's Lotte Friis, twice a world short course champion, London Olympic gold and silver medallist Allison Schmidtt of the United States and the overall World Cup winner Katinka Hosszu from Hungary.

"I have very good competition in both and the 400m comes the morning after the 800m final so those two days will be intense and demanding. It would be great to improve my rankings and times.''

Her fellow North Shore swimmer Melissa Ingram, on the back of some good form in the recent World Cup circuit, is ranked sixth in the 200m backstroke, the event in which she won a bronze medal in 2004.

Team veteran Ingram has come off an outstanding World Cup series where she won five times in the 200m backstroke and was runner-up on the other three occasions.

Her best is only two seconds off the top seed which is Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds while Ingram will also resume her battles with Ukraine's Daryna Zevina from the World Cup campaign.

The other top ranked Kiwi swimmer is Matthew Stanley from Matamata who is eighth fastest in the men's 400m freestyle and 10th in the 200m freestyle.

Stanley, who competed in the London Olympics after making huge gains in 2012, impressed with one win and two second placings in the 400m freestyle in the Asian legs of the World Cup.

The rest of the team are venturing to a major international for the first time and will be looking for personal bests to potentially push into semi-finals.

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Corey Main, 17, claimed his place in the team with his first national open title at the short course championships in the 100m backstroke.

The age group champion on both sides of the Tasman is starting on his path to the Rio Olympics and is looking to advance his ranking of 20th in this event tomorrow.

His Howick Pakuranga clubmate and fellow teenager Ewan Jackson is also in action on the opening day in the 200m freestyle with Stanley.

Like Main he will be looking to improve his international ranking although his better chance will come in the 400m freestyle where he is ranked 12th fastest.

Queenland-based Cantabrian Cameron Simpson faces a busy schedule in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly starting on day two.

New Zealand has won eight individual and two relay medals at the world short course championships over the last 20 years, with the last coming at Manchester in 2008 when Moss Burmester won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly and the men's medley relay won a bronze medal.

- Stuff

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