US-based Lauren Boyle surprised even herself to smash a national record and qualify for the world championships on the opening night of the State Insurance New Zealand Championships in Auckland tonight.
Boyle joins fellow Commonwealth Games swimmers Natalie Wiegersma and Glenn Snyders as qualifiers for July’s worlds in Shanghai in a strong opening night.
The 23 year old Boyle, coached by Mark Regan, has been under some stress in California, cramming swim training with five final papers to complete her business degree by May when she plans to return fulltime to Auckland.
But she not only smashed the qualifying time but her 4:07.61 was nearly two seconds inside her national record set in Delhi. She finished well clear of Samantha Lucie-Smith and open water specialist Cara Baker.
“Yes it’s been pretty stressful to tell the truth. I came here not really knowing what to expect. I was really pleased with my time and the swim in the heats to go 4:12 I knew that I had a good time in me.
“It felt great tonight and I am so delighted to go 4:07. It’s fantastic and I am delighted.”
Wiegersma was the first swimmer to book her place in the team for the FINA World Long Course Championships, winning the 200m individual medley in 2:15.02 ahead of North Shore’s Francis sisters Grace and Chloe.
The 21 year old coached by Jeremy Duncan was in front all the way and while she qualified she was disappointed to be two seconds outside her national record set at the Commonwealth Games.
“Well I have booked my ticket for Shanghai which was the main goal. But I came here to do PBs in every race and I didn’t achieve that. In fact I was a long way off it which was disappointing.
“My coach and I will go back and look through the race and see where the mistakes were. I thought it was okay but really it was off the pace. Still to be off my best and still qualify for the world championships can’t be too bad.”
Snyders (High Performance Centre North Shore) snuck under the qualifying time in the men’s 100m breaststroke in 1:01.49, just 8/100ths under the qualifying time for the Delhi silver medallist.
He had to work hard to hold off US-based Nic Ferrif (North Shore) and Luke Westgaard (Roskill Magic).
The 23 year old had gone 1:00.89 in an effortless morning head and had hoped for a sub one minute final.
“The first goal was to qualify for Shanghai and I’ve done that but I was not happy with that time tonight,” Snyders said.
“It felt okay but it was slow. I will have a look at that and then focus on the 50m and 200m breaststroke to come because I would like to qualify in all three events.”
One of the swims of the night went to 15 year old Cantabrian Sophia Batchelor who won the women’s 100m butterfly in a stunning 59.54 to become the first New Zealander under the one minute mark.
It broke Liz Coster’s old national mark and was only 19/100ths of a second outside the qualifying time for Shanghai.
Her coach Leanne Speechley said they were treating the butterfly as a warm-up swim ahead of her main backstroke events. The 15 year old, youngest in the field, dominated to lead all the way against her more senior rivals to clock 59.54, ahead Danielle Koni (Roskill Magic) and Hayley Palmer (North Shore).
“It was absolutely brilliant. It felt so good and strong in the water,” Batchelor said. “I swam it exactly as we wanted. There are always things we can improve on and in the future I will go even faster.
“At the moment fly is not my main stroke and I don’t really train it at all. Then again some of the best flyers do not train much butterfly.
“But I came with no expectations and it was amazing. I’m so pleased.”
In other finals Delhi backstroke medallist Daniel Bell upset his rivals to win the 50m butterfly in 24.12 ahead of Nielsen Varoy and Corney Swanepoel while Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Taranaki Swim Club) impressed in winning the 400m freestyle in 3:51.27 ahead of Serbian visitor Velimir Stjepanovic and Matamata’s Matt Stanley.
The meet continues until Friday.
Day 1 Finals Results:
Women’s 100m butterfly: Sophia Batchelor (AquaGym) 59.54, 1 (NZ Record); Danielle Koni (Roskill) 1:01.85, 2; Hayley Palmer (North Shore) 1:02.58, 3.
Men 400m freestyle: Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Taranaki)3:51.27, 1; Velimir Stjepanovic (Laser Mt Eden) 3:52.85, 2; Matthew Stanley (HPC Matamata) 3:54.62, 3.
Women 200m individual medley: Natalie Wiegersma (Waverley) 2:15.02, 1 (World Champs qualifying); Grace Francis (North Shore) 2:17.11, 2; Chloe Francis (HPC North Shore) 2:18.03, 3.
Men 50m butterfly: Daniel Bell (HPC North Shore) 24.12, 1; Nielson Varoy (Roskill) 24.13, 2; Corney Swanepoel (HPC Roskill) 24.47, 3.
Women 400m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (HPC North Shore) 4:07.61, 1 (NZR, World Champs qualifying); Samantha Lucie-Smith (Capital) 4:15.28, 2; Cara Baker (Howick-Pakuranga) 4:16.10, 3.
Men 100m breaststroke: Glenn Snyders (HPC North Shore) 1:01.49, 1 (World Champs Qualifying); Nichloas Ferrif (North Shore) 1:01.93, 2; Luke Westgaard (Roskill) 1:02.53, 3.
Full details: www.swimmingnz.org.nz
CAPTION: Lauren Boyle in action on the opening night of the State Insurance New Zealand Championships at West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland.