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NEW DELHI: New Zealand named a squad of 12 swimmers for the Commonwealth Games at the end of the National Swimming Championships in Auckland last week Seven swimmers successfully met stiff qualification times set by the selection panel while five others were included after a re-evaluation of recent times worldwide.
According to reports in the New Zealand media, Swimming NZ successfully petitioned the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Association to extend the squad to 12. The New Zealand Commonwealth Games team is expected to total about 185 competitors in 18 sports.
Swimming NZ performance and pathways general manager Jan Cameron said the initial qualification targets agreed with the NZOC were set against world times 12 months ago. Since then, times around the world, particularly at the Australian trials last month, had eased back after the controversial rubber swimming suits had been banned.
“We have applied the same criteria of top six ranking in the Commonwealth based on these latest results and information,” Cameron said. “We have adjusted the criteria to 890 Fina points and, under this weighting, it means there are an additional five swimmers under the qualifying ranking for the Commonwealth Games. The selectors were satisfied all swimmers meet top-six selection criteria.”
New Zealand coach Mark Regan said he wanted to see more. “I actually expected better,” he told Sunday News. “I think the pressure got to them and that had a lot to do with it. They've got to deal with these situations a lot better and that's what I'll try to do over the next couple of months – put them under extreme pressure so they handle it better.”
Regan said he would do this by using tough workouts, stiff competition and revising the expectations placed on them, believing they are struggling to cope with the pressure they're putting on themselves.
“They all look at the result more than the process – the process of doing the race the best way instead of looking at it as being a mountain that's too high to climb. We've just got to change our mindset, but that's do-able. I'm excited by them. They're a good team of individuals. They can all improve, can all go better,” he said.
Standout swimmer from the national champs in Henderson was Daniel Bell, who did enough to be able to compete in the backstroke over 50m, 100m and 200m in Delhi. “I'm pretty happy with how I swam here,” Bell said. “I didn't quite get the times I was looking for but the goal was to qualify and I've done that.”
Backstroker Melissa Ingram says the team will have to be careful how they handle the conditions in India. “We're going to have to be onto it and be watchful about what we eat, learn about the culture and try to adapt to the best of our ability,” she said.
NZ swimming squad
Daniel Bell 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke;
Lauren Boyle 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay;
Moss Burmester 200m butterfly;
Melissa Ingram 200m backstroke;
Hayley Palmer 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay;
Glenn Snyders 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke;
Natalie Wiegersma 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley
Tash Hind 200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay;
Penelope Marshall 200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay;
Amaka Gessler 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay;
Emily Thomas 100m backstroke;
Gareth Kean 200m backstroke.