The new head of New Zealand swimming, Luis Villanueva, was extremely pleased with what he saw at the State New Zealand Open Championships.
“Our main leading swimmers from the Olympics have all performed strongly this week. That is encouraging given that this is only a few months after London and of course there have been changes that they have had to deal with,” said Villanueva.
“Added to that some of the next group of younger swimmers have shown promise of things to come.
“The key will be the hard work that needs to be done from this point to July’s world championships.”
By the time the six day meet concluded five athletes swam a total of 14 events under the FINA A time to qualify for the upcoming World Championships.
On the final night of competition in Auckland 17 year old Sophia Batchelor was the star of the evening winning both the 50 butterfly and 200 backstroke. Batchelor won the 50 butterfly in a new New Zealand record and World Championship qualifying time of 26.30.
“I just felt so good. I got clean water and felt really strong in my stroke. My legs were really really sore but I got in and did some kick for like five minutes and then back down to marshalling for the 200m backstroke,” said Batchelor.
She than won the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:12.31,
“Sometimes it just clicks, it just seems to work, you’re just flowing, it’s all about your rhythm and you’re just perfectly in time with everything. I think once you’ve found that it’s hard to slip out of it,” she said.
“I’m blown away. I did not expect to come here tonight and win two in one night.”
The five swimmers who punched their tickets to Barcelona at the meet include Batchelor, Lauren Boyle, Glenn Snyders, Gareth Kean and Matthew Stanley.