Swimming: Spain win has Kean back to form for champs

By David Leggat

Gareth Kean's 100m backstroke win was outside his national record of 53.32s set last year but sets him up for next month's world meet. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Gareth Kean's 100m backstroke win was outside his national record of 53.32s set last year but sets him up for next month's world meet. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Wellington backstroker Gareth Kean had a poor London Olympics, turning in below-par performances as the national squad, with one notable exception, took a bagging.

In Barcelona yesterday the 21-year-old suggested he's got some of his form back leading up to the world championships next month by winning the 100m event at the Mare Nostrum meet.

Kean qualified fastest for the final, then won it in 54.7s. It was outside his national record of 53.32s, set at the New Zealand championships last year, but it gives him something to work with. Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer was second .26s behind.

It was New Zealand's only win over the two-day meet, which attracted many of the world's leading swimmers. However, the three medals won yesterday took to six the total gathered over the event.

Auckland's Lauren Boyle, the London exception, followed her 800m silver 24 hours earlier with another second, over 400m.

She touched behind Spain's double Olympic medallist Garcia Belmonte in 4min 07.75s, less than 2s behind Belmonte, with another Spaniard, Melanie Costa Schmid, in third.

Matamata freestyler Matt Stanley won bronze in the 200m. He'd had an off day in the 400m but did well clocking 1:49.5s, behind Japan's Yuki Kobiri and German Yannick Lebherz. Had he matched his national record time of 1:48.5s he'd have won gold.

Breaststroker Glenn Snyders was fourth in the 50m discipline after qualifying second, and missed the A final in the 200m after cramping in the heat.

The best of the other New Zealanders was Samantha Lucie-Smith with an impressive fifth in the 400m freestyle in 4:15.49s.

Most of the squad will contest the next Mare Nostrum series event in Canet, France, this weekend before heading to a training camp at altitude in Sierra Nevada.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 30 Aug 2014 07:46:55 Processing Time: 682ms