Silver day for NZ at Commonwealth Games

By David Leggat, Herald online

The women's freestyle relay team completed a silver-laden day for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games on day three.

New Zealand won four silver and a bronze on the third day of competition in Delhi, taking their medal tally to seven.

The relay team won the second silver of the day in the pool after Wellingtonian Gareth Kean powered home to grab silver in the men's 200m backstroke.

Earlier on day three the cycling team added to their medal haul with Lauren Ellis finishing second in the women's points race followed by Simon van Velthooven taking home bronze in the men's points race.

Southlander Jess Hamill got New Zealand's track and field campaign off to a flying start when she won silver in the para shot put.

Four years ago Auckland swimmer Lauren Boyle was the kid in the bronze medal-winning women's freestyle relay team in Melbourne.

Last night, the 22-year-old Boyle went one better as the senior member of the quartet, leading off as New Zealand won the silver medal in the Commonwealth Games 4 x 200m relay.

The foursome of Boyle, Penny Marshall, Amaka Gessler and Natasha Hind chomped two and a half seconds off the national record they set at this year's PanPac championships in clocking 7min 57.46s.

Australia won the gold in a Games record time of 7:53.71 with England taking the bronze 1.15s behind the New Zealanders.

"It was really exciting," Boyle said last night.

"I was the youngie in Melbourne, now I'm the old hand on the team.

"I thought it was a really complete swim with everybody contributing."

For the first time, all four swimmers did their piece in under two minutes.

And Boyle is tipping a strong showing at the London Olympics in 2012, for which she has committed herself.

"I think there is so much depth in the young swimmers in the relay that if we can continue to progress we should be a factor in London."

New Zealand silver medals top and tailed last night's finals session.

It took until the third night of finals for a New Zealander to step onto the dais. There were expectations of either freestyler Hayley Palmer or breaststroker Glenn Snyders cracking the Kiwis' duck in the Games pool.

However Wellingtonian Kean got the night off to a thrilling start with a terrific swim for silver from the outside lane eight.

He had pushed his way to third at the 150m and turned on some heat to edge out Australian Ashley Delaney in a national record 1min 57.37s. England's James Goddard was well clear winning in a Games record 1:55.58.

Palmer's fourth in the 100m freestyle was the next best result of the night. She qualified fourth quickest and that's where she finished, in 54.68s, .11s off the bronze.

Snyders, who set a Games record in his semifinal, which was then overtaken in the second semi a few minutes later, disappointed in his final.

He was fourth at halfway before slipping back to finish in 1:01.39.

"Too slow really and I don't know why," Snyders said.

"I was focussed on the race but when the time came, I don't know what happened."

Eight of New Zealand's 12 swimmers are in action in today's heats.
The pick of them might be the men's 100m backstroke where Kean and national record holder Daniel Bell line up again.

Elsewhere Snyders is in the 50m breaststroke; Emily Thomas in the 50m backstroke, Moss Burmester lines up in the 100m butterfly; Natalie Wiegersma - who missed the New Zealand 100m butterfly record of Liz Coster by 0.01s last night - is in the 100m breaststroke, and Hayley Palmer and Gessler start the 50m freestyle.

- NZ Herald

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