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The start of something extraordinary

Boyle, Robinson beat qualifying standard for Rio Olympics

Kiwi star Lauren Boyle and Emma Robinson both went under the qualifying time for the Rio 2016 Olympics on the opening night of New Zealand Open Swimming Championships in Auckland.

Boyle clocked an excellent 8:25.00, the fourth fastest time in the world this year, to easily qualify in the 800m freestyle, and also helped drag Robinson through under the qualfiying time as she did last year for the world championships.

Robinson, who trains on the Gold Coast like Boyle, was timed at 8:31.27, a personal best, to be nearly three seconds under the qualifying mark.

“I thought I had the form I needed but worried because I had not swum that time since last year. I had a bump being really sick at worlds so this is a nice confidence booster,” Robinson said.

“I tried to sit on Lauren’s feet for the longest time that I could. I knew I had to give it all in that last 100m and my legs were gone by that stage but this is great.”

Boyle was in command throughout going through the 400m in 4:09.36 on the way to her best time this year and ticking the qualfying box.

“I am really happy to have qualified  and on the first day so good that we have got that done,” Boyle said.

While she wanted a competitive time, Boyle was also keen to help Robinson to the qualifying time.

“I tried to go out strong and maintain it. I really wanted Emma to qualify. She is such a good training partner and works so hard so good to see her improving every year and getting closer to me which is great.

“I’ve tapered for this. It’s not guaranteed that you will qualify so it’s great  to have qualified but it’s also important to post a fast time some point this year.”

Robinson is back in the pool tomorrow in the 200m freestyle while Boyle will set herself for the 400m freestyle later in the week.

Twenty-one year old Helena Gasson could not repeat her heroics from the morning in her bid to go under the qualifying mark in the women’s 200m butterfly.

In the morning the North Shore swimmer lowered her own national record by more tthan a second with an excellent swim in 2:09.84, which was only half a second outside the Olympic qualifying mark.

Gasson pushed hard to better that in the night swim, overtaken on the final length by Commonwealth Games representative Samantha Lee who went on to win in 2:11.21. Gasson was second in 2:11.43.

North Shore swimmer Wilrich Coetzee, a world junior championship representative last year, pushed the early running in the men’s 200m butterfly. He was overtaken late in the final 50m by North shore’s Shaun Burnett who won in 1:59.34 from Max Polianski (United) and Coetzee.

Los Angeles-based Glenn snyders (North Shore) won the 50m breaststroke national title for the 12th time in 27.34, holding off Howick Pakuranga’s Matt Shead in a close battle.

The women’s title went to Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) in 32.56 from Ciara Smith (Northwave) and Ellie Eastwood (United).

National title holder and record holder Nathan Capp produced a solo display to dominate the men’s 800m freestyle in 8:05.01. While outside his national record, it was a strong performance as he builds towards his Olympic qualifying swim in the 1500m freestyle later in the meet.

In Para-Swimming this evening, four swimmers went under the target times for nomination to the selectors for the Rio 2016 Paralympics .

Hamish McLean clocked 5:28.16 to be under the time for the men’s S6 category in the 400m freestyle while eight-time world champion Mary Fisher (5:23.76) and Rebecca Dubber (5:39.04) went within the times for S11 and S7 categories respectively in the women’s 400m freestyle.

Te Awamutu’s Nikita Howarth edged under the qualifying mark by 0.3 seconds in a time of 1:29.37 in the women’s 100m breaststroke.

Tomorrow’s programme includes the 200m freestyle 50m backstroke and 200m breaststroke for men and women, the men’s 400m individual medley and medley relay for able bodied swimmers. Para-Swimmers compete in the 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke.

There are 256 swimmers from 56 clubs competing at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre at AUT Millennium, with heats from 10am and finals from 7pm through to Friday. Finals will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 3.


Men 200m butterfly: Shaun Burnett (North Shore) 1:59.84, 1; Max Polianski (United) 2:00.44, 2; Isaac Foote (Masterton) 2:00.47, 3.

Women 200m butterfly: Samantha Lee (Capital) 2:11.21, 1; Helena Gasson (North Shore) 2:11.43, 2; Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) 2:16.69, 3.

Men 50m breaststroke: Glenn Snyders (North Shore) 27.34, 1; Matt Shead (Howick Pakuranga) 27.61, 2; Mario Koenigsperger (Howick Pakuranga) 28.68, 3.

Women 50m breaststroke: Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) 32.56, 1; Ciara Smith (Northwave) 33.36, 2; Ellie Eastwood (United) 33.71, 3.

Men 800m freestyle: Nathan Capp (Greerton) 8:05.01, 1; Troy Balvert (8:26.09), 2; Devlin Forsythe (8:27.20), 3.

Women 800m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (United) 8:25.00, 1(Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifying Time); Emma Robinson (Capital) 8:31.27, 2 (Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifying Time); Monique King (North Shore) 8:49.38, 3.


Men 400m freestyle: Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 4:42.90, 1; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 5:28.16, 2 (Qualified Rio 2016 Paralympics).

Women 400m freestyle: Mary Fisher (Tawa) 5:23.76, 1 (Rio 2016 Paralympic Qualifying Time); Rebecca Dubber (North Shore) 5:39.04, 2 (Rio 2016 Paralympic Qualifying Time); Olivia Hay (Whakatane) 5:49.00, 3.

Men 50m backstroke: Chris Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 32.52, 1; Cameron Leslie (North Shore) 43.28, 2.

Women 50m backstroke: Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 34.22, 1; Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 37.53, 2; Amy Noble (Karori Pirates) 45.26, 3

Men 100m breaststroke: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:24.46, 1; Tama Solouota (Howick Pakuranga) 1:30.70 , 2; David Beck (Mt Albert Grammar) 1:31.89, 3.

Women 100m breaststroke: Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu) 1:29.37, 1 (Rio 2016 Paralympic Qualifying Time); Olivia Hay (Whakatane)1:45.97, 2; Olivia Upston (Parnell) 1:51.42, 3.

CAPTION: Emma Robinson (left) and Lauren Boyle celebrate after both went under the qualifying time for the Rio Olympics on the first day of the New Zealand Open Championships at the Sir Owen G Glen National Aquatic Centre (Credit: BW Media)

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