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Aquablacks Ready for World Aquatics Championships

Event Preview of the Upcoming World Aquatics Championships

The world’s top swimmers are descending upon Fukuoka in Japan for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, with the swimming to be contested July 23rd-30th.


Among them is a strong Aquablacks team made up of 15 New Zealand athletes, eager to show what they’re capable of.


The team is headlined by Olympians Lewis Clareburt and Erika Fairweather. Clareburt is the only World Champs medallist in the squad, winning bronze in the 400m IM in 2019. Meanwhile Fairweather will be looking to become just the fifth-ever woman to go sub-four minutes in the 400 metres freestyle.


The rest of the Aquablacks squad is a mix of seasoned campaigners and exciting new talent. Eleven of the athletes have attended a World Champs before, with Hazel Ouwehand, Josh Gilbert, Luan Grobbelaar and Summer Osborne debuting at the pinnacle event.


“This is a really exciting team and we’re all feeling really good heading into the event,” said Clareburt.

“For me I haven’t raced much this year so it’s going to be a great way to see how I’m stacking up against the rest of the world with just a year to go to the Olympics.”

Clareburt will be in one of the most competitive events at the Worlds, coming up against Frenchman Leon Marchand in the 400m IM. Marchand has been in a hot vein of form and is targeting the 15-year-old record that Michael Phelps set in the men’s 400m individual medley at the 2008 Olympic Games.


“My event has moved so far forward in the past 12 months so it’s going to be great to see where the top guys in the world are at and test myself against them.”

The men’s 400m IM will be contested on the first day of competition, with Fairweather also in action in the 400m Free on day one.


Fairweather has been in her own record-breaking form but will face stiff competition in the 400m Free, up against an Olympic champion, a world champion and a world-record breaking teenager.


Ariarne Titmus won the event at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships and then again at Tokyo 2020, with Katie Ledecky taking the silver both times. Then earlier this year, 16-year-old Summer McIntosh set a world record in the event at the Canadian Swimming Trials.


“The quality of the field is insane so to be in the mix with them all is pretty cool,” said Fairweather.


“To sub that 4-minute mark would be the dream, that’s my real goal for the event so we’ll see how it goes.”

Joining Fairweather is second time World Championship athlete Cameron Gray who’ll be competing in the 50m fly and 100m free, as well as two relays.


Gray has been working on his strength since nationals and is looking forward to seeing the improvements in action.


“I’ve come from a more distance focussed programme so I’ve really been putting in work to up my speed and strength ahead of Worlds,” said Gray.

“I’ve also been working on my turn for the 100, the turn times have really been coming down so I’m pretty excited to get to Japan. I love sushi and it’s going to be a really cool event.”

The World Champs see 47 gold medals up for grabs across the events. The heats start at 10:30am local time (1:30pm NZT) and the finals continue the action from 8pm (11pm NZT).







And make sure you follow Swimming NZ on Instagram and Facebook for all the behind-the-scenes info.



Aquablacks Team

Lewis Clareburt (#257) Capital Swim Club

· 200, 400 IM

· 100, 200 Butterfly

· 4x100 Medley Relay

Chelsey Edwards (#265) Coast Swim Club

· 100 Freestyle

· 4x100 Mixed Free Relay


Erika Fairweather (#266) Neptune Swim Club

· 200, 400, 800 Freestyle

· 4x200 Free Relay

· 4x100 Mixed Free Relay

Michael Pickett (#268) Club 37

· 50 Freestyle

Zac Reid (#269) Neptune Swim Club

· 200, 400 Freestyle


Eve Thomas (#270) Coast Swim Club

· 400, 800, 1500 Freestyle

· 4x200 Free Relay

Caitlin Deans (#276) Neptune Swim Club

· 1500 Freestyle

· 4x200 Free Relay

Cameron Gray (#277) Coast Swim Club

· 50 Butterfly

· 100 Freestyle

· 4x100 Medley Relay

· 4x100 Mixed Free Relay

Andrew Jeffcoat (#279) Club 37

· 50m, 100m, 200m Backstroke

· 4x100 Medley Relay


Helena Gasson (#250) Coast

· 50m Butterfly

· 100m Backstroke

Carter Swift (#282) Club 37

· 4x100 Mixed Free Relay


Hazel Ouwehand (#283) Phoenix Aquatics

· 50m Butterfly

Joshua Gilbert - Club 37

· 50, 100, 200 Breast

· 4x100 Medley Relay

Luan Grobbelaar - Neptune

· 400m Individual Medley


Summer Osborne - North Shore

· 4x200 Free Relay



Aquablacks Schedule, 2023 World Aquatics Championships


Day One, July 23rd:


Men’s 400m IM

· Lewis Clareburt

· Luan Grobbelaar


Women’s 400m Free

· Erika Fairweather


Men’s 100m Breast

· Joshua Gilbert


Men’s 50m Fly

· Cameron Gray


Women’s 100m Fly

· Hazel Ouwehand


Men’s 400m Free

· Zac Reid


Women’s 400m Free

· Eve Thomas


Day Two, July 24th:

Women’s 1500m Free

· Caitlin Deans


Women’s 100m Back

· Helena Gasson


Men’s 100m Back

· Andrew Jeffcoat


Men’s 200m Free

· Zac Reid


Women’s 1500m Free

· Eve Thomas


Day Three, July 25th:

Men’s 200M Fly

· Lewis Clareburt


Women’s 200m Free

· Erika Fairweather


Men’s 50m breast

· Joshua Gilbert


Men’s 800m Free

· Zac Reid


Day Four, July 26th:

Men’s 200m IM

· Lewis Clareburt


Men’s 100m Free

· Cameron Gray


4 x 100m Mixed Medley

· 4 x athletes TBC


Day Five, July 27th:

Women’s 100m Free

· Chelsey Edwards


Men’s 200m Breast

· Joshua Gilbert


Men’s 200m Back

· Andrew Jeffcoat


4 x 200m Free

· Caitlin Deans

· Erika Fairweather

· Eve Thomas

· Summer Osborne


Day Six, July 28th:

Men’s 100m Fly

· Lewis Clareburt


Women’s 800m Free

· Erika Fairweather

· Eve Thomas


Women’s 50m Fly

· Helena Gasson

· Hazel Ouwehand


Men’s 50m Free

· Michael Pickett



Day Seven, July 29th:

Men’s 50m Back

· Andrew Jeffcoat


4 x 100m Freestyle Relay

· Chelsey Edwards

· Erika Fairweather

· Cameron Gray

· Carter Swift


Day Eight, July 30th:

4 x 100m Medley

· Andrew Jeffcoat

· Cameron Gray

· Joshua Gilbert

· Lewis Clareburt

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