Saturday, 10 April 2010

Coach expects more from NZ CWG swim team

New Zealand swimming coach Mark Regan will demand his charges handle pressure better after what he believed were some disappointing results at the national open championships held in west Auckland last week.

A team of 12 was yesterday named to represent New Zealand at October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

To make it into the squad swimmers had to reach times which demonstrated they'd make it into the top six at the Games. After the announcement, 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."

New Zealand's elite swimmers have also come in for stick from Sparc, who are demanding better results for the money spent.

If they fail to deliver in Delhi the funding for the high-performance swimming programme may be cut but Regan says it's not something he's losing sleep over.

"I don't feel that pressure myself and I don't want the swimmers to feel that pressure. All Sparc or anyone in New Zealand can expect is for the swimmers to do the absolute best they can."

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. "Also being careful of things like Delhi belly."


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