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The start of something extraordinary

Doyle to open NZ's swim campaign

*** Original story from NZ Olympic Committee

Carina Doyle, who opens the New Zealand swimming team’s Commonwealth Games campaign tomorrow, has travelled an unusual journey to get to the Gold Coast.

Doyle, 24, was born in Darwin, but when she was just a toddler her family moved to Dunedin. More recently she has lived in Auckland while seeking swimming honours.

Doyle swims in the heats of her best event, the 200m freestyle, in the morning and returns in the evening session to join with Georgia Marris, Helena Gasson and Laticia-Leigh Transom in the 4 x 100m freestyle, which is a straight final.

“My parents are New Zealanders. Dad lived in Australia because of his job as a geologist – he travelled around a bit and my older brother was born in Perth,” Doyle said.

She said she generally tried to keep fairly quiet about having been born in Australia. “It’s only when the passport comes out that people tend to notice!”

Once she got to Dunedin, Doyle showed a natural affinity to the water. She was given initially swimming lessons after a younger brother had a close shave in a pool.

Based at the St Clair pool (good practice as it turned out, because the Games are also being held in an outdoor pool), she shone at both swimming and later surf lifesaving.

Last year Doyle was in the national surf lifesaving team that competed on the Gold Coast and got an early look at the Games pool when she contested the pool rescue.

She says the fact that the Games pool is uncovered will not be such an issue for her. “It’s more of an issue for the backstrokers. The freestylers follow the line at the bottom of the pool.”

She is the national 200m champion and is entered in the Games 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events, as well as the 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

“I’m feeling a little pressure,” she said. “I want to do a good job for our team, get the ball rolling with a good performance and help build some momentum.”

Doyle swims in the second of the three heats and finds herself up against the likes of Australians Ariarne Titmus and Leah Neale and Scotswoman Lucy Hope, who have all ducked well under two minutes this season. Doyle brings a season’s best of 2min 00.09s into the Games.

The event favourite is defending champion Emma McKeon of Australia.

Doyle will have to swim right to her best to secure a place in the final, tomorrow evening.

Eight of the 17-strong New Zealand swim squad compete tomorrow.

After Doyle’s freestyle heat, Daniel Hunter and Sam Perry are in the 50m butterfly, Bronagh Ryan is in the 50m breaststroke, strong medal contender Corey Main swims in the 100m backstroke heat, and Marris and Gasson are in the 100m butterfly heats, and Transom has her first swim in the evening relay.