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The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Open Swimming Championships - Day 1 Wrap

World champion Lauren Boyle led the way to a superb start to the State New Zealand Swimming Championships in Auckland today. Boyle was one of four swimmers to go under the qualifying time for July’s FINA World Championships on the opening day of competition at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson. 

The 25 year old was joined by fellow North Shore swimmer Glenn Snyders to go under the stiff FINA A qualifying in the morning heats, while Sophia Batchelor (Christchurch) and Matt Stanley (Matamata) qualified tonight. Boyle clocked an outstanding 4:05.67 to top qualifiers in heats which was more than four seconds inside the qualifying mark for the world championships.

She backed that up with a 4:06.39 effort to win the final, more than four seconds clear of Wellington’s Samantha Lucie-Smith who set a new personal best. 

“I am pretty happy with that. It is good to swim two times that were comparable with what I would need to swim to make a final at the world championships,” Boyle said. I have been working really hard and I think I am pretty fit. 

“I would have liked to have gone a little faster tonight but it is still two good solid swims. I’m now looking forward to the 1500m tomorrow and then the 800m and I think these swims today set me up ok for those events to come.” 

Snyders, now based in southern California, impressed to clock 1:00.14 in his heat of the men’s 100m breaststroke which was 0.7s inside the qualifying mark for world championships. He proved that his move overseas was the right one when he nailed his second qualifying time with a time of 1:00.20, but wasn’t too concerned about not dipping under the one minute barrier. 

“Coming back from America the uncertainty was there. I don’t know exactly where I’m at in my training because everything is yards over there. But I backed myself and this morning it paid off,” Snyders said.

Determined to put personal and public expectations aside, Snyders came into the meet prepared for anything.

“I wasn’t expecting anything to be honest. I wanted to swim a little bit faster than this morning, but it was pretty much the same so I’m happy.”

The evening began with two further qualifying performances when 17 year old Christchurch swimmer Batchelor went under the world championship mark in the 100m butterfly by the slimmest of margins, while London Olympian Stanley produced a classy swim to qualify in the 400m freestyle.

Batchelor put the devastation of missing out on last year’s Olympic Games behind her to dip under the qualifying time in the 100m butterfly by 5/100th of a second. She chose to use the disappointments of 2012 to her advantage.

“There have always been people over the years saying that I would burnout, but I just proved them wrong. We’ve just had a change of coach so everything has been different in training, but change can be good,” Batchelor said.

The 21-year-old Stanley produced a solid 400m freestyle that saw him qualify for his second national team, swimming a consistent race but acknowledging that there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I think I was a little bit slow through the middle of the race but it’s hard when you’re out there by yourself. I did what it took to qualify and I’m happy with that. I think by the time I adapt to the new training I can go a lot faster,” Stanley said.

Paralympics star Sophie Pascoe had some good and bad news, after unofficially going under the world record in the 50m breaststroke when she clocked 36.17s but as the electronic touchpad malfunctioned, the record cannot be ratified.

In other finals Nielsen Varoy (Roskill Magic) took out the men’s 50m butterfly in 24.49, Kate Godfrey (Neptune) won the 200m individual medley.

In AWD action Paralympics gold medallist Mary Fisher (Capital) and North Shore’s Daniel Holt won the 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle respectively.

Results, day 1:

Women 100m butterfly: Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym) 58.84, 1 (World Champs Qualifier); Samantha Lee (Capital) 59.85, 2; Laura Quilter (North Shore) 1:00.74, 3.

Men 400m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 3:48.92, 1 (World Champs qualifier); Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (New Plymouth Aquatics) 3:52.70, 2; Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui) 3:54.26, 3.

Women 200m Individual Medley: Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 2:17.87, 1; Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury) 2:18.09, 2; Emily McGill (Capital) 2:18.49, 3.

Men 50m butterfly: Nielsen Varoy (Roskill Magic) 24.49, 1; Gareth Kean (Capital) 24.67, 2; Paul Benson (Heretaunga) 24.86, 3.

Women 100m backstroke AWD: Mary Fisher (Capital) 1:20.51, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:30.21, 2; Nikita Howarth (Cambridge) 1:33.70, 3.

Men 400m freestyle AWD: Daniel Holt (North Shore) 45.31, 1; Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 4:32.88, 2; Blake Cochrane (Australia) 4:59.04, 3.

Women 400m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (North Shore) 4:06.39, 1 (World Champs Qualifier); Samantha Lucie-Smith (Capital) 4:10.79, 2; Tash Hind (Capital) 4:13.52, 3.

Men 100m breaststroke: Glenn Snyders (North Shore) 1:00.20, 1 (World Champs qualifier); Nic Ferrif (NorthShore) 1:02.43, 2; George Schroder (Aquagym) 1:03.95, 3.

Women 50m breaststroke AWD: Sophie Pascoe (QEII) 34.17, 1.

Women 4x200m freestyle relay: Swimming Auckland 8:25.47, 1; Swimming Waikato 8:46.13, 2; Swimming Wellington 8:53.79, 3.

Men 4x200m freestyle relay: Swimming Wellington 7:45.65, 1; Swimming Otago 7:48.97, 2; Swimming Canterbury 7:50.52, 3.

CAPTIONS:  Sophia Batchelor celebrates her world championship qualifying performances at the State NZ Swimming Championships in Auckland.

The images are free for editorial use only. Credit: Simon Watts.

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IAN HEPENSTALL  Media Manager Swimming NZ High Performance Sports Media NZ Ltd Tel 09 2327822 Mob 0275 613181 E: ian@sportsmedianz.com Skype: kiwiheps