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The start of something extraordinary

Lauren Boyle’s third medal secures Pan Pacs record

Lauren Boyle created history tonight with her third medal on the final night of pool action at the Pacific Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast.

The 26 year old finished second to the remarkable Katie Ledecky (USA) in the women’s 1500m freestyle to go with her medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle, making her the first New Zealander to win three medals at a single Pan Pacific Championship. This surpasses the efforts of Danyon Loader, who twice won two medals at the Pan Pacs in 1993 and 1995, with Boyle’s tally of three now second only to the four earned by Loader.

“I am really happy to be on the podium three times here,” Boyle said. “I didn’t realise or think about that (my results). For me it works best if I focus on one race at a time. It’s been a long campaign and I am happy with how it’s worked out.”

Boyle tried to go with the 17 year old Ledecky through 200m until the American upped the ante and cleared out, pushing her way to a world record 15:28.36, some six seconds inside her previous mark.

It was her second world record and her fourth individual win this week, claiming all freestyle titles from 200m to 1500m.

The New Zealander pushed through the 800m in 8:27.04 but paid the price for her brave endeavours, forced to fight hard to come home in 15:55.69, two seconds clear of Canada’s Brittany MacLean.

“I knew Ledecky would be pretty much ahead of the field but I didn’t want to race for second place,” she said.”I need to be able to have some good speed at the front end of my races so it’s been good to have a focus that I have been able to work on at this meet.

“I went out as hard as I could to try and stay in contact and it really hurt at the end. I felt more true to myself that I didn’t just try to come second. It was a tough race. I knew it would be tough but I am happy with my effort.”

It brings to an end a challenging month for Boyle, with gold and silver medals in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and now three medals behind the phenomena that is Katie Ledecky at the Pan Pacific Championship.

“Two big international competitions on top of each other has been quite emotionally draining but at the same time quite strengthening for the people who are really able to embrace the challenge.”

It is not over quite yet for Boyle, who returns home with the New Zealand team to compete in the national short course championships in Wellington starting on 2 September.

“It’s quite fun to end the season at a local meet and meet some new people and do things on home soil which is always quite special – and then I am going to have a break in Hawaii which I am really looking forward to.”

Boyle’s teammate Emma Robinson finished eighth in the 1500m freestyle in 16:44.88.

Also in action tonight, Mitchell Donaldson finished seventh in the A Final of the 200m individual medley in 2:01.34, a fraction outside his previous best.

“It would have been nice to have a PB tonight but it’s been a great learning experience in my first big international final, standing up on the blocks with Michael Phelps in the next lane,” Donaldson said.

In other action North Shore’s Laura Quilter was seventh in the B Final of the 50m freestyle in 26.10, under her entry time but a tick slower than her heat swim.

Tomorrow’s planned open water competition has been cancelled with the original venue at Southport Marina deemed unsafe following this week’s stormy weather and doubtful water quality with the alternative venue, a fresh water lake on the Gold Coast.

Countries have been invited to send open water swimmers to compete at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii on 31 August.

New Zealand Finals Results:

Women 1500m Freestyle: Katie Ledecky (USA) 15:28.36, 1 (World Record); Lauren Boyle (NZL) 15:55.69, 2; Brittany MacLean (CAN) 15:57.15, 3.

Women 50m Freestyle, A Final: Cate Campbell (AUS) 23.96, 1; Bronte Campbell (AS) 24.56, 2; Chan van Landeghem (CAN) 24.69, 3.

B Final: Melanie Schlanger (AUS) 25.23, 1; Madeline Locus (USA) 25.24, 2; Alesandi Marchioro (BRA) 25.37, 3. Also: Laura Quilter (NZL) 26.10, 7.

Men 200m Individual Medley, A Final: Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:56.02, 1; Michael Phelps (USA) 1:56.04, 2; Daiya Seto (JPN) 1:57.72, 3. Also: Mitchell Donaldson (NZL) 2:01.34. 7.

Men 4x200m Medley Relay:  USA 3:29.94, 1; Japan 3:32.08, 2; Australia 3:33.45, 3. Also: New Zealand 3:38.46 (Corey Main 54.61, Glenn Snyders 59.38, Steven Kent 55.29, Matthew Stanley 49.18), 5.

CAPTION: Lauren Boyle on the podium at the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast tonight.

The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: Delly Carr