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Lauren Boyle’s laps of courage

The star swimmer is diving in for a good cause

As one of New Zealand’s most promising Olympic hopefuls, champion swimmer Lauren Boyle has medals, records and sponsorship deals to her name. But although the talented athlete loves the sport that’s responsible for her success, she’s come close to throwing in the towel more than once.

“There have been times when I could have just said, ‘That’s enough,’ and given up,” the softly spoken 27-year-old Aucklander confesses. “It’s not a sport for the faint-hearted. It’s hard work.

“A few times, I’ve thought I could get a normal job and have a normal social life. Other people my age are getting engaged or travelling, but my career means my life is so different.”

Lauren has spent a massive chunk of her life in pools, from gliding her way to glory at school swimming sports to making waves on the international scene.

“I have a very strong sense of what I should be doing and I know swimming is the right thing for me,” she explains. “I’m actually really proud that I’ve paid attention to my intuition over the years and not given up when it would have been so easy to.”

Lauren is getting behind Garnier’s Save Our School Pools campaign to help keep school pools open.

Now a two-time Olympian, with two silver medals from the 2015 world champs, Lauren – who lives on Australia’s Gold Coast – is focusing all of her energy into preparing for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“I’m probably in the pool 25 to 30 hours a week, with 5.30am starts every day except Sunday.”

Lauren is also fronting Water Safety NZ’s and international beauty brand Garnier’s Save Our School Pools campaign, a cause the swimmer felt compelled to get behind.

She says, “Pools are closing down all over the country as maintenance costs get too high and I feel really passionately about kids getting the chance to learn to swim. We have pretty terrible drowning statistics for a developed country, so anything I can do to encourage school boards to save their pools or reopen them would be great.”

Despite her busy schedule, Lauren says as long as she keeps knocking seconds off the stopwatch, she’s happy. “At this stage, I’m still improving and that’s my biggest goal. I still love it after all these years and I’m lucky that I’ve met some incredible people through swimming – that’s what motivates me and keeps me going.”

And with her sights firmly set on swimming her way to Olympic glory next year, Lauren can’t imagine herself doing anything else.

“I have a business degree from the University of California and I’d like to use that eventually, but it’s quite hard to imagine. I hope that I can put the same amount of effort and passion into whatever I end up doing. By the time I’m ready to retire from swimming, my time management will be pretty good after years of getting up at 5am, so that could come in handy!”

Saving New Zealand School Pools

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  • 156 Kiwi school pools have been categorised as “non-operational” in the last six years.

  • 130 additional pools across New Zealand are at risk of closure within the next five years because of limited funding for maintenance and major repairs.

  • Without school pools, children’s swimming abilities and survival skills will suffer, causing a potential increase in drowning statistics.

  • For more information and to get involved, visit watersafety.org.nz

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