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Erika Fairweather Wins Bronze at World Aquatics Championships

Becomes Fifth Ever Woman To Go Under 4 Minutes in 400m Freestyle

New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather has swum a stunning race to win bronze in the 400m Freestyle at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships.

Fairweather swam a PB of more than a second to record a time of 3:59.59s, making her just the fifth-ever woman to go sub-four minutes in the 400m freestyle.

The 19-year-old from Dunedin placed third behind Australia’s Ariarne Titmus who set a world record time of 3:55.38s, and the USA’s Katie Ledecky who placed second in 3:58.73s.

“That race was one of the most hyped up races of the meet, we had the world champion, the Olympic champion and the world record holder in the race," said Fairweather.
"To be racing with them was special and to get up on the podium with them was so cool. I really wanted to break that 4-minute mark, that was my main goal, I had a bit of fun with it and also managed to end up with a bronze medal around my neck."

Fairweather was sitting in fourth for much of the race behind former world record holder, Canadian Summer McIntosh.

Fairweather held on to the Canadian, swimming a massive 29.09s final 50m to run down the Canadian and take bronze.

The medal is New Zealand’s first at the World Aquatics Championships since Lewis Clareburt won bronze in the 400m individual medley in 2019.

Swimming New Zealand Olympic Pathway Lead Gary Francis says it’s a phenomenal result.

“Erika and her coach Lars Humer have been working extremely hard towards this and we couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Francis.
“To stand up internationally and become the fifth fastest woman ever over 400m is a phenomenal result and kicks off our campaign in the best possible way.”

Fairweather’s New Zealand teammate Eve Thomas also competed in the 400m freestyle, placing 20th overall in a time of 4:11.33s.

Four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Lewis Clareburt was the other New Zealander who made it through to the finals of day one at the Championships.

Competing is his favoured 400m individual medley Clareburt swam 4:11.29s to take sixth place, with Frenchman Leon Marchand setting a world record time of 4:02.50s to take gold.

Luan Grobbelaar competed in the heats of the same event earlier in the day, placing 20th overall in a time of 4:21.54s.

In the men’s 100m Breaststroke Josh Gilbert placed 33rd in a time of 1:01.79s. Cameron Gray placed 25th in the men’s 50m Butterfly in 23.57s.

In the men’s 400m Freestyle Zac Reid swam 3:55.55s to place 32nd. Hazel Ouwehand placed 26th in the women’s 100m Butterfly in a time of 59.81s.

Five New Zealanders will be in action today as the competition continues at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. The full Aquablacks World Aquatics schedule is available here.

Follow Swimming NZ on Instagram and Facebook for all the behind-the-scenes info.

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

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