Boyle’s 1500 Metre Swim

By David

It must be said before this post goes up that nobody–I am willing to bet anywhere, including here at Swimwatch–holds Lauren Boyle in anything but the highest regard. She deserves admiration, recognition and continued success, and in no way is this meant to be a criticism or attack on Lauren’s swimming or character. What follows is a criticism solely of Swimming New Zealand and FINA. Lauren’s achievement in Wellington deserves nothing but respect; it is the national and international governing bodies that potentially let her down, and are continuing to let themselves and all involved in the sport of swimming down.

I see Craig Lord has written an interesting post on the website. In it he discusses the likelihood that FINA are going to approve Lauren Boyle’s 1500 swim as a world record. The decision is a disgrace. FINA, it seems are going to make a decision no better than the lie Swimming New Zealand told in completing the Record Application form. Lord’s post is well worth a read. Here is the link.

There is no doubt that many in the swimming world are interested in the FINA decision. FINA’s integrity is well and truly under the spotlight. Is FINA capable of acting with integrity when it comes to the hard decisions? We are about to find out. Some idea of the extent of world interest in the decision can be found in the number of comments on the original SwimVortex story on the illegality of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. That story had 97 comments. In comparison the recent story about Michael Phelps late night driving misdemeanors had 42 comments.

It seems swimming people do care about how well their sport is governed. They do want to see a level playing field enforced. They do want FINA to stand for something more important than disqualifying a ten year old from Pahiatua for a non-continuous backstroke turn. And if Craig Lord is right it looks like they are going to be disappointed in the honesty of the world governing body.

One of the comments made on this second SwimVortex story was posted by me. I think it is an interesting opinion. Here is what I said.

It may be of interest to note the following huge anomaly. The meet Lauren swam the 1500 meter time was a provincial Championships – the Wellington Winter Short Course Championships. Three of four weeks later the same pool was converted to the “deep” end for the National Winter Championships. That is not a simple or cheap process.

It involves bringing in a heavy duty crane during the night and lifting a three ton boom over a second boom and relocating it at the deep end of the pool and of course returning the boom to its original position at the end of the National Meet – a process that with the altered electronics and the like must cost in the order of $30,000 – $50,000 dollars.

And so if signing Lauren’s application was so correct; so compliant with “all FINA rules” why did the SNZ National Association spend thousands of dollars converting the pool for their championships a month later. What a waste of time and money if all FINA rules had actually been met – as the record application claimed. Of course they spent the money for the Nationals because they knew their pool as it was configured for the provincial meet did not comply with FINA rules.

Why then did they allow their referee and CEO to sign a form saying it did? I’ve never drawn attention to that contradiction but $30,000 – $50,000 for a week’s meet seems like a lot to spend if they really thought the pool was fine.

Remember what the Record Application requires? It asked Swimming New Zealand to confirm that “ALL” FINA rules had been met when the record was set. Swimming New Zealand signed the application form swearing on a stack of bibles that was true – all FINA rules had been met.

It seems very simple. The events are mutually exclusive.

Either the existing pool met all FINA rules and there was no need to change the pool and all that money was wasted


The pool did not comply with FINA rules and the alterations were necessary and the people who signed Boyle’s record application lied.

Come on Swimming New Zealand you make great play of integrity, accountability and all that other stuff, which one was it. Was changing the pool an unnecessary waste of thousands of dollars or did you guys lie when you signed the record application?