Day Three Wrap - 2023 Northern Arena Invitational
Three swimmers hit World Championships qualification times on an action-packed final day of competition at Swimming New Zealand’s World Championship Trials in Auckland.
Tokyo Olympian Eve Thomas (Coast) was the standout performer, smashing the women’s 800m freestyle qualification time by more than seven seconds, finishing in 8:30.41s.
“My goal tonight was to make that swim as even as possible,” said Thomas.
“I’m lacking a little bit of front-end speed following a full-on schedule over the past few days but you’ve got to love hitting a World Aquatics A time in a mid-season swim so I’m really glad I managed to secure that spot today.”
Just behind Thomas was Caitlin Deans (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) who also went under the qualification time, touching the wall in 8:36.95s.
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Lewis Clareburt (Club 37) was also in action, going under the qualification mark in a second World Championships event.
Clareburt showcased his class in the 200m individual medley, clocking a time of 1:59.20s.
“I’m stoked,” said Clareburt. “That time isn’t crazy competitive internationally but I’m really happy to just go under that qualification mark given it’s been a busy few weeks for me.”
Clareburt has already secured World Champions qualification in the 400m individual medley and 200m butterfly.
The women’s 200m individual medley was the other standout race of the night at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland. South Africa’s Rebecca Meder (North Shore) touching the wall in a world class 2:11.72s.
In the Para Swimming Asher Smith Franklin (North Shore) continued his record-breaking form, setting an S14 New Zealand record time of 2:18.28s in the men’s 200m medley.
The men’s 100m freestyle then produced a close race. Carter Swift (Club 37) took the win in 49.16s, just over half a second outside the World Championships qualifying time. Edward Sommerville (Brisbane Grammar) was just .03s behind in 49.19s and Kale Twist (Kiwi ASC) third in 50.80s.
It was a similar story in the women’s 100m freestyle, with Laticia-Leigh Transom (Ice Breaker Aquatics) taking the honours in 54.60s, just outside the World Championships qualifying time. Chelsey Edawards (Coast) was second in 55.93s and Eva Allan (Club 37) third in 56.16s.
Zac Dell (Club 37) took the win in the men’s 100m backstroke in 54.65s, with Gemma Cooney (Brisbane Grammar) taking the top spot in the women’s 100m backstroke in 1:01.68s.
Christoper Elson (Vikings) then produced an outstanding swim in the men’s 50m butterfly. The 25-year-old touching the wall in 23.77s, just half a second off the New Zealand record.
The final event of the evening saw 2014 Commonwealth Games veteran Laura Quilter (Coast) mark her return to competitive swimming by taking the win in the women’s 50m butterfly in 26.79s.
The racing concludes Swimming New Zealand’s World Championships Trails, with a team of eight athletes selected to represent New Zealand at the Doha 2024 World Championships.