Boyle buoyant about Brazil
Since narrowly missing the podium at the 2012 London Olympic Games, star New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle has gone from length-to-length and strength-to-strength to give herself every chance of savouring success in Rio. Her achievements since London have been remarkable and recent results show she’s building nicely for next year’s 31st Olympiad.
A year out from Rio, August’s 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia were always going to provide an ideal competitiveness barometer for the 27 year-old. What resulted was Lauren Boyle creating New Zealand swimming history enjoying the best single World Championships ever by a Kiwi swimmer, winning two silver medals. She claimed silver in the 1500m freestyle (unfortunately not part of the Olympic programme), and backed that up with another silver in her specialist 800m freestyle, the event that netted her fourth placing in London 2012. She also finished fifth in the 400m freestyle final in Russia.
Her performance in Kazan added to the three bronze medals she won at the last World Championships in Barcelona in 2013. With five medals her personally tally now represents half of the ten medals won by New Zealand swimmers at all World Championships, and eclipses the three World Championship medals won by Danyon Loader.
In the 1500m Boyle smashed her own New Zealand record, clocking 15:40:14 to take nearly five seconds off her previous record set at the 2013 World Championships. In the 800m, her time of 8:17.65 took a second off her own New Zealand record and saw her claim the Oceania record as well.
“Honestly that is the thing I am most proud of,” says Boyle.
Both races were won by swimming phenom Katie Ledecky in world record times. Ledecky also became the first person to win four freestyle titles from 200m to 1500m at the same World Championships. She’s akin to a Hamish Bond and Eric Murray in terms of current domination of an Olympic sport and will line up in the 800m freestyle in Rio. It’s not something that bothers Boyle and she has high praise for the American swimming sensation.“I think for me improving my times to be better than I have been in the past is the most positive thing and I am so happy with personal best times - that’s really exciting.”
“Katie Ledecky is the most dominant swimmer at the moment and some people have said she is currently the best athlete in the world - being a World Champion in 200, 400, 800, 1500 metres freestyle and part of the USA relay team, winning gold.
“She has lowered records by a bigger margin than we have seen in a long time.
“I find her performances inspiring and admire her open mind.”
Since standing alongside Ledecky on the podium at the World Championships, Lauren Boyle has started the 2016 swimming season in fine style with excellent results at the FINA World Cup events in Doha and Dubai last month.
She won both the 400m and 800m freestyle at the two Persian Gulf events, improving as she went to dominate in Dubai. She won the 800m freestyle by almost five seconds and the 400m freestyle by over two and a half seconds.
“The World Cup events in Doha and Dubai were my first races of the 2016 season and I was pleased to kick off the season well.”
To round out 2015 Boyle has just completed a training camp at high altitude in Spain and her attention now turns to 2016. Her main goal for the early part of the year will be to qualify for the Olympics at the New Zealand trials in March. Once that has been done she will focus in on Rio and says her 2012 experience will help her.
“I swam my first individual races in London.
“The atmosphere of the Olympic Games was exciting and I learned a lot by participating in the finals in the 400 and 800 freestyle.”
That learning experience along with current form should not only see Lauren Boyle again make finals, but have a very good chance of standing on the podium as well.