The royals may be in the country but West Auckland has its own swimming queen.
Whenuapai’s Lauren Boyle will head the New Zealand swimming team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after a resounding performance at the New Zealand Open swimming championships at West Wave last week.
The 26-year-old dominated the competition, winning the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events.
Her 200m dash was done in 1:57.67, the 11th fastest time in the world this year.
Boyle will also lead the women’s relay team in Glasgow in late July.
Behind the cameras and out of the pool, Boyle is a humble and hard-working athlete – doing things for the love of it.
She also had a love of horse riding growing up, but practicality and common sense prevailed when it came to her chosen path.
‘‘I like swimming for a lot of reasons,’’ Boyle says.
‘‘It’s a pure sport. You don’t need a lot of equipment.’’ ‘‘You compare that with buying a $20,000 horse and the costs just start there.
‘‘You’re cutting a lot of the competition with monetary restrictions.’’ In high school Boyle was rising at 4.30am to get to the pool and trained at West Wave up until the age of 17.
But she lets herself sleep in until 6am these days.
Boyle has plenty of fans here, they walk by with congratulatory handshakes, smiles and encouragement.
Being away for three months of the year, Boyle has travelled the world.
A highlight came last year when she won three bronze medals at the FINA World Long Course Championships in Barcelona. And there was her fourth-place finish at the London Olympics the year prior. But like most athletes on tour, Boyle doesn’t get to see much of the sights.
‘‘It’s mainly the pool,’’ she says. ‘‘London was a bit different because we had a bit of time there and I’ve been to Germany three times.
‘‘I’m really interested in the German language and architecture.’’ Now that she’s qualified for Glasgow, Boyle can make the most of while she’s home and continue her training.
She says she hardly ever takes holidays, but more ‘‘active rest periods’’.
‘‘I’m really into growing my own veges and try to eat healthy.
‘‘But with all the wasps around my tomatoes at the moment, I’m too scared to go near them.’’
Story by Julian Raethal, Western Leader 15th April 2014