Commonwealth Games: Boyle confident ahead of opening night

By David Leggat in Glasgow

New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Luis Villanueva, New Zealand's high performance boss, was adamant: Lauren Boyle is the most dedicated, professional athlete he's worked with.

Given his background in the sport, working with some of the world's best, it was a big call, but he was insistent.

''She is always at another level when she gets to an international event. It's a common trait of great athletes. They are more motivated and driven when the situation is more difficult.
''I've seen her training in the last three weeks and she's training better than ever."

The freestyler is also feeling pretty good about things on the eve of the Games meet when she will swim the 200m on the opening night on Friday (NZT), her favoured 800m and 400m, plus a relay.

Now well past a debilitating illness which had her wondering how hard it would hit her readiness for this meet, Boyle exuded confidence and self assurance yesterday.

''I always get excited to compete at a pinnacle event," she said.

''The high pressure environment is something that you can either enjoy or be intimidated by. I really enjoy it."

Three bronze medals at last year's world championships signalled her development into a true top flight international racer.

She's the face of the sport in New Zealand, which amuses the west Aucklander.

''Hmm, I don't know. I don't really feel that I get recognised at all.

''But there's probably more expectation on me in terms of media interest and people back home know my name a bit better than last year. But nothing's changed in terms of what I want to achieve."

Boyle has spent time at altitude in Spain leading up to Glasgow. She found it challenging, a seriously hard slog. She doesn't see why that wouldn't help her, but won't appraise her buildup period until the Games event is over.

At 26, she is in her prime, although she's hoping that will come in two years' time at the Rio Olympics.

That's for another day. For now medals beckon in Glasgow, but probably not on Friday where she plays down her prospects.

She's ranked eighth in the Commonwealth this year, with a 1 min 57.67s best time.
It's a different story at the longer distances.

Her 8:22.93 at Vichy in the French Open this month is the fourth quickest 800m time of the year, third in the Commonwealth behind Wales' Jazmin Carlin and Australian Jessica Ashwood.

And her 4:06.08 will be the fifth best 400m time this year going into the meet.

The last New Zealand woman to win a Games gold was backstroker Anna Simcic in Auckland 24 years ago. Just a thought, but you could imagine Boyle would be well aware of that.

''She is the one, more driven than anyone else," Villanueva said.

Mark those words this week.

Watch - Glasgow: NZ swimmers confident'

Video

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 24 Nov 2014 04:01:46 Processing Time: 338ms