Boyle has tough challenge in the Rio pool

2:43 pm on 5 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - New Zealand's top swimming hope at the Rio Olympics Lauren Boyle will face stiff competition, with the American swimming sensation Katie Ledecky already expected to come away with a a golden haul.

New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle.

New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 19-year-old Ledecky is a freestyle phenomenon who looks set for a golden haul across a number of events.

The American has smashed the 800m world record four times in three years, taking Briton Rebecca Adlington's previous benchmark of 8:14:10 down to the current 8:06.68.

The fastest time by anyone else this year is more than 11 seconds slower, and Boyle's best in 2016 is 8.25.00 -- some way off her personal best of 8:17.65 when she took silver at the 2015 world championships.

Even then, Boyle came in more than 10 seconds behind Ledecky.

The American heads to Rio as the reigning Olympic 800m champion and holding world records in the 400m and 1,500m freestyle.

Boyle has had sickness issues to contend with in the build-up to Rio, but is now fully fit and hoping to end New Zealand's 20-year wait for an Olympic swimming medal.

She told reporters she sees competing against Ledecky as a positive.

"I think I'm very lucky to race someone like Ledecky and be part of her era and see what she's capable of," she said.

"I think it really shows me and other athletes that swim those events what's really possible for women's swimming."

The last New Zealander to win an Olympic swimming medal was Danyon Loader, who took two golds at the 1996 Atlanta Games in 200m and 400m freestyle.