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The start of something extraordinary

Boyle, Varoy on fire at State NZ Swimming Championships

London Olympic swim star Lauren Boyle stormed to victory on the second night of finals at the State New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington tonight.

Boyle was in a class of her own in winning the 800m freestyle in 8:15.73, which was 13 seconds inside the qualifying mark for December’s World Championships in Turkey and ranks her sixth in the world this year.

There was further celebration when talented Roskill Magic sprinter Nielsen Varoy broke the New Zealand record in winning the 50m freestyle at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre.

Varoy, 21, snuck under Cameron Gibson’s 2007 record of 22.12 by 2/100ths of a second as the lead-off swim in the men’s club freestyle relay.

After topping qualifiers in the individual heats 22.16 this morning, the big Aucklander, coached by former Olympian Paul Kent, reduced the record to 22.01 in winning the final impressively from top backstroker Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) and Otago’s Kurt Crossland (Neptune).

It was a thoroughly impressive performance from Varoy who is maturing with age according to Kent.

“He is a big guy at over two metres and freestyle is actually a very technical stroke especially at high speed for a tall guy,” said Kent.

“He had a huge amount of promise as a youngster and hopefully this will stir him along to really start to believe in himself.

“Nielsen has worked really hard on his technique and is starting to see the rewards. A lot of it is him believing in himself on a daily basis.”

Kent said because of his size, Varoy is more suited to long course, and believes that the world championships long course next year and Glasgow Commonwealth Games are firmly in his sights.

“He has taken a good chunk off the short course record here and will have another crack in the relay to see how close he can get to the world champs qualifying mark of 21.85. We don’t have kicker blocks here in Wellington so that would cost him a little bit.

“The aim now will be to expose him to more competition of a higher standard and see how far he can progress. Sprinters mature late and with Rio four years away, he has the potential to challenge for a spot there for sure.”

Boyle, who only recently returned to the pool after her outstanding performances in London, produced a class effort tonight.

The 24 year old, coached by Mark Regan at Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre, went through the 400m in 4:04. Without competition, she edged out to 31 seconds range for each 100m in the back half to win in 8:15.73 which was more than a second inside her previous national record set in 2011.

Talented North Shore 17 year old Tabitha Baumann was second in 8:30.22 and Emma Robinson (Capital) third in 8:39.23.

Boyle returns for the 400m and 200m freestyle later in the meet.

In other finals Samantha Richter (North Shore) took out the women’s 100m freestyle in 55.17s from the Capital pair of Samantha Lee and Olympian Tash Hind. However Lee got the upper-hand over Sophia Batchelor (Aquaqym) and Richter in winning the 50m butterfly in 26.98.

Tauranga’s Nathan Capp (Greerton), from Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre, beat off Nick Gillum (Capital) to claim the 400m individual medley while Otago’s Katie Kenneally (Neptune) was impressive in winning the 200m breaststroke.

The championships continue until Thursday.

Day 2, open finals results:

Women 100m freestyle: Samantha Richter (North Shore) 55.17, 1; Samantha Lee (Capital) 55.21, 2; Tash Hind (Capital) 56.29, 3.

Men 400m individual medley: Nathan Capp (Greerton) 4:16.13, 1; Nick Gillum (Capital) 4:17.73, 2; Cameron Blair (Kiwi West) 4:22.58, 3.

Women 50m butterfly:  Samantha Lee (Capital) 26.98, 1; Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym) 27.03, 2; Samantha Richter (North Shore) 27.38, 3.

Men 50m freestyle: Nielsen Varoy (Roskill Magic) 22.01, 1 (NZ record); Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) 22.47, 2; Kurt Crosland (Neptune) 22.90, 3.

Women 200m breaststroke: Katie Kenneally (Neptune) 2:29.10, 1; Dayna Kiekebosch (Fairfield) 2:32.12, 2; Emily McGill (Capital) 2:32.21, 3.

Women’s 800m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (North Shore) 8:15.73, 1 (NZ Record, World Champs qualifying); Tabitha Baumann (North Shore) 8:30.22, 2; Emma Robinson (Capital) 8:39.23, 3.