It's odd seeing a New Zealand swimming team minus Lauren Boyle.

But that'll be the situation in the pool at the world championships in Budapest, starting tomorrow night with Boyle absent, recovering from a hip operation.

Of the 10 world championship medals won by New Zealanders, the last five have come from the Auckland freestyler - a triple of bronzes in Barcelona in 2013 over 400, 800 and 1500m; and a couple of silvers in Kazan two years ago in the 800 and 1500m.

Take her out of the equation, and there's unlikely to be a New Zealander on the podium in Hungary. Indeed it is a youthful group of 10 who will take to the pool - Matamata freestyler Matt Stanley, at 24, is the senior figure.

Advertisement

There's plenty of promise in the squad, and it will be a first chance for senior coach Jerry Olszewski to get a look at the country's best swimmers in a truly competitive environment.

"We have the most kids make it this year since 2005," Olszewski, the American who has been in charge since last September, said. "They're all young, eager and excited. We're going to feed off that, keep things relaxed and fun."

Olszewski stressed the fun part, believing the young swimmers need to keep things in perspective.

"For a lot of them it's going to be the first major pinnacle championship like this.

"It's a completely difference experience and we'll learn from it.

"So keeping them relaxed, loose and on their game is going to be very important."

Olszewski, a well-regarded coach with over 25 years experience of the American club and college swimming systems, appreciates he isn't going to watch the medals stack up.

"I like to see kids swim to their potential, some pbs (personal bests) and getting into some semifinals and finals, and be competitive with the rest of the world," he said. "(Then) walking away from this meet saying 'yes, we can do this'."

Auckland sprinter Daniel Hunter missed the Rio Olympics by a slender four-hundredths of a second after winning both the national 50m freestyle and backstroke titles in record times. He contested the world short course championships last year in Canada, but appreciates this is a different story.

"It was an eye opener and a good way to set up on what to expect in a way, but at the same time this is going to be a lot bigger and everyone's going to be a lot more focussed on their events," Hunter, 23, said.

He wants to be part of a relay team which qualifies for next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast and make at least one semifinal. So is this a major event in its own right or a stepping stone towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020?

"This is a big deal in the sense it is a building block for Tokyo but you never know what's going to happen between now and Tokyo.

"So you've got to take every meet as it comes, treat it as the most important event - and it is the most important in my career - so I'm excited to push myself the best I can."

First off in the pool on day one from late tomorrow night (NZT) are Wellington's Emma Robinson in the 400m freestyle, Helen Gasson in the 200m individual medley, and the men's 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

New Zealand team
New Zealand pool team for the world championships, starting in Budapest tomorrow:
Emma Robinson (Wellington, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle), Helena Gasson (North Shore, 50m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400 IM, 4x100m medley), Gabrielle Fa'amausili (Auckland, 50m freestyle and backstroke, 100m freestyle and backstroke, 4x100m medley), Bobbi Gichard (Auckland, 200m backstroke, 4x100m medley), Natasha Lloyd (Canterbury/Auburn University, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 4x100m medley), Bradlee Ashby (Waikato, 200m and 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly), Daniel Hunter (Auckland, 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 4x100m relay), Sam Perry (Waikato/Stanford University, 50m, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, relay), Matt Stanley (Matamata, 200m freestyle, relay), Corey Main (Auckland/Florida University, 100m, 200m backstroke, relay).
‚óŹCharlotte Webby contested the 5km and 10km open water races this week, finishing 38th and 40th respectively.