New Zealand will boast a powerful 16 strong swimming team for the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, announced tonight by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
The team includes six swimmers who qualified in individual events – four able bodied and two para swimmers – and three relay teams. They comprise the men’s and women’s 4x200m freestyle relays and women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
This compares to the 12-strong team for Delhi in 2010 which brought home six medals.
The team is led by triple world championship medallist Lauren Boyle and five-time Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Pascoe. Boyle qualified in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle and a member of the 4x200m freestyle relay, while Pascoe, who won six IPC world titles last year, will contest the 200m individual medley.
“We are delighted to have selected the 16 athletes for Glasgow 2014,” said New Zealand Olympic Committee President Mike Stanley, who was at the New Zealand National Open Championships to name the team tonight. “We look forward to seeing them excel at one of New Zealand’s favourite sporting events and have no doubt that Glasgow will be a significant milestone as they progress through to Rio 2016.”
Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director, Luis Villanueva said that the swimmers who have earned selection have produced a standard to be competitive in Glasgow.
“Our qualifying standard was challenging but fair as we look to develop swimmers who can compete at the highest levels on the world stage,” Villanueva said.
“The team is built around the nucleus of swimmers who went to the world championships last year and with further hard work in the next 14 weeks I believe they all have the capability of being contenders for medals in Glasgow.”
Two para-swimmers earned selection in Pascoe and Te Awamutu teen Nikita Howarth who won six medals between them at last year’s IPC World Championships.
“I am thrilled that Sophie and Nikita have been selected as part of the team for Glasgow 2014,” says Jon Shaw, PNZ Head Performance Coach for Para-Swimming.
“The Commonwealth Games provides the opportunity for these two inspirational Para-Swimmers to compete in a fully inclusive swimming event as they build towards Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”
The team includes those who competed at London 2012 comprising Boyle, Pascoe, Glenn Snyders, Matt Stanley, Tash Hind, Samantha Lucie-Smith, Steven Kent and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett. Added to this are swimmers who competed in last year’s world championship - Emma Robinson, Samantha Lee, Mitchell Donaldson and Howarth.
The newcomers are Howick Pakuranga teenager Corey Main, currently on scholarship at Florida University, Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) and, competing in the 4x100m freestyle relay, Laura Quilter (North Shore, Auckland) 4 x 100m freestyle relay and Ellen Quirke (Capital, Wellington).
Lee and Jackson were included under the provision of a fifth swimmer for each of the two qualified 4x200m freestyle relays, after their times, added to the fastest three swimmers, was still under the qualifying mark.
New Zealand has a strong history of swimming, winning a two silver medals at the 1930 Edmonton (Canada) British Empire Games, the forerunner to the Commonwealth Games.
The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games take place 23 July – 3 August. New Zealand will have around 200 athletes at the games, competing in all 17 sports on the programme. Selections will be finalised in June.
The team is (and events in which they qualified):
• Lauren Boyle (United, Auckland) 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay
• Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore, Auckland) 4x200m freestyle
• Dylan-Dunlop Barrett (Coast, Auckland) 4x200m freestyle relay
• Tash Hind (Capital, Wellington) 4x200m freestyle relay
• Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu, Waikato) para S8 100m freestyle
• Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga, Counties Manukau) 4x200m freestyle relay
• Steven Kent (Coast, Auckland) 4x200m freestyle relay
• Samantha Lee (Capital, Wellington) 4x200m freestyle relay, 4 x 100 freestyle relay
• Samantha Lucie-Smith (Capital, Wellington) 4x200m freestyle relay, 4 x 100 freestyle relay
• Corey Main (Howick-Pakuranga, Counties Manukau) 100m backstroke
• Sophie Pascoe (QEII, Canterbury) para S10 100m individual medley
• Laura Quilter (North Shore, Auckland) 4 x 100m freestyle relay
• Ellen Quirke (Capital, Wellington) 4 x 100m freestyle relay
• Matthew Stanley (Matamata, Waikato) 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay
• Emma Robinson (Capital, Wellington) 4x200m freestyle relay
• Glenn Snyders (North Shore, Auckland) 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke
Note that swimmers may swim in other events for the Commonwealth Games.