For Boyle – and indeed supporters of the New Zealand swim team – this record time was a massively encouraging feat. Given that Boyle will head the New Zealand international swim team competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in late July, this latest time shows that the New Zealanders may just have what it takes to go gold on the international swimming stage.
High-Altitude training the key to success
Boyle’s time of 22.93 seconds in the 800 metre freestyle event was a full five seconds faster than her winning time at the New Zealand championships earlier this year, and four seconds off her New Zealand record. It seems that one of the chief reasons for this sudden success is the high altitude training that both Boyle and her teammates have recently undergone in Flagstaff, Arizona. At a facility based at the Northern Arizona University (7000ft above sea level), Boyle and the New Zealand entourage have seen their physical potential tested like never before.
New Zealand international swim coach David Lyles has said how it is difficult to do the same quality of work at such a high altitude it isn’t impossible to manage. Lyles may seem casual about the training, but it certainly seems to have paid dividends at this latest event, with New Zealander Matthew Stanley finishing a solid third in the final of the men’s 400m freestyle, and Tash Hind, Samantha Lee and Laura Quilter all showing clear signs of improvement since the training commenced.
A Positive sign for the next generation
For the fans too (as well as young swimmers) these latest positive results could spell a new era for New Zealand swimming. As in many competitive sports (besides Rugby), New Zealand have often trailed behind their Antipodean cousins Australia on the international Swimming stage. If these improvements in the New Zealand national side were to continue though, competitive swimming in New Zealand may yet experience a rebirth of interest. Not only would international success lead to a rise in patriotism and national pride, but it would encourage New Zealand’s youth to don their own High Octane swimwear and set about becoming the next generation of world-class athletes.