Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Boyle Leads Step Forward for New Zealand Swimmers

New Zealand swimmers, led by outstanding performances from Lauren Boyle, have taken a significant step towards improvement on the world stage.

They have finished the FINA World Championships with Boyle’s three medals the first since 1994, the first by a female New Zealand swimmer, and improving the medal tally to just eight since the championships began 40 years ago.

The total of five individual finals equals the most for New Zealand at a world championships, with five in 1994 where Danyon Loader won three medals, and five individuals in 2005 in Montreal where they also made the finals in two relays.

The tally of 10 swimmers qualifying for semifinals was the second highest total since the championship began behind the team in 2005.

Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director Luis Villanueva said the squad had undertaken a major campaign which will provide the platform for improvement across the board to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and beyond.

“It's been an historical competition in many respects with a new coaching environment in New Zealand and a long training build-up in Europe which included some international racing as well as altitude training,” said Villanueva.

“These achievements should provide a major drive for a broader improvement of New Zealand results at the world stage in the years leading to Rio.”

Villanueva said it had been a new experience for most of the young squad.

“Some of the rookie swimmers have enjoyed the opportunity to begin their preparation towards the Olympics with this competition at a World Championship.

“They now have two years to grow as swimmers ahead of the next World Championships in Russia much better equipped to perform at their best.”

The 2015 World Championships will provide the key pre Olympic indicator as well as the first opportunity to qualify for relays and open water events for Rio.

Villanueva said Boyle had been the catalyst for the squad with a stellar competition, which has grown as a result of her dedication and hard work in training since she returned to New Zealand fulltime in 2011.

“Lauren has moved one step higher on her swimming career, her progression since 2011 has been continuous.

“In Spain she has added some key improvements. She has swum faster from the heats to final in every event, and of course she has been on the podium in all three events. And she has shown that she has great potential in every freestyle distance event from 400m to 1500m.”

“Lauren has put in the hard work in 2011 and 2012 with Mark Regan, continuing in this challenging year with determination, stepping many hurdles and eventually she has now found great support in new head coach David Lyles.”

Villanueva said the coaching team would debrief before setting their next goal of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year which will offer the opportunity to develop the base of international swimmers. This will lead on to the vital World Championships in 2015 as the major stepping stone towards Rio 2016.

Most of the team will return to New Zealand this week while Boyle and butterfly swimmer Shaun Burnett will compete in two FINA World Cup meets starting in The Netherlands tomorrow overnight (NZ time) and in Berlin at the weekend.