Day 2 Wrap from the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships
World Aquatics Championships bronze medallist Erika Fairweather (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Andrew Jeffcoat (Club 37) have shined the brightest on day two of the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships. With both recently returning from impressive performances on the international stage in Fukuoka, they have continued their strong form to break their own NZ Records in dominant displays.
Erika Fairweather looked comfortable in the heats swim in the Women’s 200m Freestyle, to be just outside her NZ Record time which she set leading off the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Melbourne last year. Taking the race out quickly, Fairweather lead from start to finish in the final to drop more than a second (-1.17 seconds) under her NZ Record to set the new benchmark as 1:53.07. Teammate Caitlin Deans (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) also set a personal best (1.57.03) by nearly a second to claim the silver medal, with Aquablack Summer Osborne (North Shore – 1:58.92) taking home the bronze.
Fairweather was really pleased with the strong form continuing past the World Aquatics Championships.
“I’m absolutely buzzing to break that record. It’s been a massive few weeks of racing and travelling so to crank a time like that is really special.”
Andrew Jeffcoat got the Club 37 relay team off to a flying start, by breaking his NZ Record in the 100m Backstroke. Having narrowly missed dipping under 51 seconds for the first time the previous night, Jeffcoat didn’t miss out by executing his skills in the underwater phase of the race, finishing the lead-off leg in 50.83 seconds. His teammates followed suit, by producing a commanding victory in the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay (3:30.28). North Shore (3:37.20) held off a fast finishing Club 37 B team (3:37.95) to the silver, with Coast sharing the bronze with the visitor Club 37 team.
The race of the night was the Men’s 200m Freestyle. Ben Littlejohn (St Paul’s) had returned from his studies at Harvard to set a cracking heats swim to enter as the fastest qualifier by over 2 seconds. Littlejohn was locked in a close battle with Tokyo Olympian Zac Reid (Neptune) for final 100m, after having the better start. During the third 50m, Reid had pulled up alongside Littlejohn and claimed a slender lead. In the final 25m, Littlejohn used his underwater skills to make his move and pull up ahead. In a nail biting finish, Littlejohn (1:45.14) took the victory by the smallest margin (0.01 seconds) to claim the national title. Zac Dell (Club 37) continued his on from his strong first day to claim the bronze with a 2.72 seconds personal best.
Aquablack Carter Swift (Club 37 – 23.55) took home the chocolates in the Men’s 50m Butterfly final, ahead of Chris Elson (Vikings – 23.73) and Jack Hendy (Club 37 – 23.77). Rio Olympian Helena Gasson (Coast – 25.86) continued her excellent short course dominance in the Women’s event, more than a second clear of Paige Schendelaar-Kemp (Pukekohe – 26.92) and youngster Zoe Pedersen (Coast – 27.38).
Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore – 26.83) continued his record-breaking feats in the Men’s 50m Butterfly Multi-Class, by smashing his S14 NZ Record by over a second. Bailey Conlon (Te Arawa – 30.69) and Guy Harrison (Heretaunga Sundevils – 36.62) rounded out the podium. The S15 – S19 final saw Jole Watkins the fastest in the field, touching first in 29.68. For the Women’s event, Ella Benn (Selwyn – 36.13) narrowly took the honours ahead of Erin Knox (SwimZone Racing – 35.81) and Charlotte Murphy (Aquagym – 58.54).
The Men’s 400m Individual Medley saw Sam Brown (Coast – 4:13.55) hold off the distance freestyle specialist Louis Clark (North Shore – 4:14.24) and Blair Helms (North Shore – 4:15.71). For the Women’s event, Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics – 4:39.43) took gold ahead of a close tussle with Australian teammates Jacinta Essam (ACU Blacktown – 4:39.80) and Lexi Harrison (ACU Blacktown – 4:40.20). Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast – 4:48.51) won the NZ silver with teammate Charlie Twose (Coast – 4:57.03) the NZ bronze.
The Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay was set up on the opening leg, with Helena Gasson showcasing her short course skills once again to lead her Coast team to victory (4:06.21). Hamilton Aquatics (4:10.68) and United (4:13.75) made up the podium.
The 400m Multi-Class events took place as timed finals during the morning session, with Asher Smith-Franklin edging out Jack Bugler (Blenheim – 4:36.22) and David Beck (Club 37 – 4:40.34) to be the Men’s titleholder. Luka Willems (Wharenui – 7:02.25) took home the S18 title and Thomas Magill (Papamoa – 5:12.08) the S19 title. The Women’s event had Ella Benn (5:10.74) win the gold medal ahead of Rylee Sayer (Matamata – 5:36.40) and Amber Proudfoot (Aquagym – 7:00.05). Melissa Donoghue (Hamilton Aquatics – 7:30.39) took home the gold.
Racing continues on day 3 with more exciting races to look forward to. Don't miss out on any of the action
200m Freestyle – Multi-Class
4 x 50m Freestyle Relay