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The start of something extraordinary

Boyle Splashes into the Unknown at FINA World Swimming Championships

Short Course World Champion Lauren Boyle will dive into the unknown when tomorrow’s pool competition splashes into life at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Spain.

The 25 year old is one of four New Zealand swimmers in action in the opening day of the championship in Barcelona on Monday (NZ time).

While she was fourth in the final of the 800m freestyle at the London Olympics and took out the gold medal over the same distance at the Short Course World Championships, there is a distinctly new feel to her campaign.

The 10-strong Swimming New Zealand team has been training in Europe for seven weeks, taking in some major competition as well as a training stint at altitude in Sierra Nevada.

“I’ve never done anything quite like this before but it’s been exciting to be away from New Zealand for such a long time,” Boyle said.

“It’s been cool to have an altitude training camp and a few competitions. It’s definitely been different but pretty fun and exciting. We get to see the world and Europe in summer. It’s fantastic.

“I don’t have expectations as such this week because I have never done this type of build-up before. I have a new coach and I am not sure what to expect.

“I want to swim fast and I want to be strong. I’ve put absolutely everything into this preparation so I am hoping that I can feel that way.”

On day one Boyle will compete in the heats of the 400m freestyle where she was ranked 11th in the world for 2012 based on her 4:03.63 set at the London Olympics.

Also in action on Monday are fellow London Olympians Matt Stanley, in the 400m freestyle, and Glenn Snyders in his favoured 100m breaststroke, while Sophia Batchelor will race the 100m butterfly.

Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director Luis Villanueva said the squad had worked extremely hard and coped well with the longer time away.

“We wanted to give them competition for these championships and also some of them the chance to go to altitude,” he said.

“They have trained well and coped very well with the time away.

“Because I come from Spain it has been helpful for us with organisation and now we are ready to deliver.”

Villanueva said he is looking for all swimmers to advance their previous bests and move forward in world rankings, where Boyle and Snyders are the only Kiwi swimmers ranked in the world’s top 10.

“They will need to be at their best in the morning and then it is important that they can go faster at night.”

Boyle will compete in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle.

“I am not as experienced in the 1500. And this is only my third year swimming the 800 so I hope I can continue to improve there. I think my 400 will be around one of my best times as well.”

The championships are being staged in a temporary pool in the superb Palau Sant Jordi indoor facility.

The team is: Sophia Batchelor (100m butterfly, 50m butterfly, 200m backstroke), Matthew Stanley (200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, medley relay), Lauren Boyle (400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 1500m freestyle), Glenn Snyders (50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, medley relay), Gareth Kean (50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, medley relay), Samantha Lucie-Smith (100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m individual medley), Shaun Burnett (200m butterfly, medley relay), Samantha Lee (200m butterfly), Mitchell Donaldson (200m individual medley), Nathan Capp (400m individual medley).