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LONDON, England, July 24. JUST days out from the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, Swimming New Zealand team leader Rushdee Warley is confident in how the squad will respond after the national federation underwent a harsh leadership review earlier this year.
Warley is looking at the likes of Lauren Boyle and Gareth Kean to turn in career performances to lead the New Zealander's prospects next week.
Boyle finaled in both the 400 free (6th/4:06.11) and 800 free (8th/8:32.72) at the 2011 World Championships last summer in Shanghai, and was named the New Zealand Swimmer of the Year this year based on those swims. Boyle is the only New Zealand swimmer to have qualified in four events in London, and is slated to swim the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events as well as doing relay duty on the 800 freestyle relay.
Kean, meanwhile, will swim in the 100 and 200 backstroke as well as serve on the men's 400 medley relay in London. He also finaled at Worlds last summer, taking eighth in the 100 back (53.50). He did not make it out of prelims in the 200 back, with a 2:00.74.
“We've just arrived from training camp in Belgium. It's been good out there,” Warley said. “We had lots of rain and thought we were entirely acclimatized for coming to London. Now the sun has come out to play, which is great.”
Overall, New Zealand brought 16 swimmers to the 2012 London Olympics, eight men and eight women.
“These are perfect facilities,” Warley said of the London Aquatic Center. “It looks like the pool will produce some fast racing. There are some really talented swimmers around here and I am sure if they do their best, we have already seen that world records can be broken without techsuits. The athletes have moved on from that. The potential is there.”