Success on the world stage has been hard to come by for New Zealand swimming in recent times, and it may not be any easier on the Gold Coast with complications posed by the outdoor pool.

For a long time, three-time Olympian Lauren Boyle and Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe, New Zealand's flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games, were the shining lights.

In her career Boyle claimed four Commonwealth medals, including gold in the 400m freestyle in Glasgow. Combined, Boyle and Pascoe captured three golds and one silver medal at those Games, while others in New Zealand's team of 12 failed to make the podium.

Boyle's retirement due to on-going hip issues last year now leaves the mantle for someone else to assume.


Other than Pascoe, there is hope Corey Main will accept that responsibility from the team of 17 which includes five para-athletes.

Florida-based Main just graduated with a business and management degree, and the 23-year-old may be coming of age in the pool, too.

Main grew up attempting to emulate Danyon Loader, New Zealand's double Olympic champion, but had to tweak his plans.

"In age group swimming, I was more of a 200m freestyle competitor and I wanted to aspire to be like that but I found a talent in backstroke and I've never looked back."

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

Main arrives in good form.

Two personal bests at last year's world championships in Budapest, where he made his first final at a major event in the 100m backstroke, suggests as much. And it's that event he could claim his maiden medal in his second Games. He also lines up in the 200m backstroke.

The absence of England's Chris Walker-Hebborn, gold medallist from Glasgow, leaves Australia's Mitch Larkin favourite for the 100m. But if Main delivers on expectations, he should win a medal. After two finals in Glasgow, where his best placing was fourth, he is eager to break through.

"Hopes will be on a medal this time around," he said. "It's going to be amazing. I've been thinking about it; it's definitely one of my dreams so I'm looking forward to it."


The Gold Coast presents unique challenges for all swimmers with events held in the outdoor Optus Aquatic Centre at Southport, making life particularly difficult for backstroke athletes who usually use the roof to guide them in a straight line.

When action gets underway tomorrow, backstrokers will also have to contend with sun or rain-impairing vision.

Main's experience in this pool, having competed here at the Pan Pacific Championships, should help him avoid a potentially race-crippling crash in the pool.

"You definitely have to be aware and conscious of where you are in the pool and looking out for the lane line. In training, I've bumped it a few times but I've made measures that will limit that. I've definitely prepared for it so I feel ready."

With his parents and nana in attendance, the timing seems right for Main to step forward.

NZ swimming team

Chris Arbuthnott, Bradlee Ashby, Carina Doyle, Celyn Edwards, Gabrielle Fa'amausili, Helena Gasson, Bobbi Gichard, Daniel Hunter, Corey Main, Georgia Marris, Tupou Neiufi, Sophie Pascoe, Samuel Perry, Jesse Reynolds, Bronagh Ryan, Matthew Stanley, Laticia-Leigh Transom.