2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships: Day Three Wrap
Erika Fairweather (Neptune) has broken her national record in the 400m freestyle to move up to 6th fastest over the distance on the international all-time list.
Swimming at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships the Dunedin 19-year-old posted a time of 4:00.62s.
“I was really confident that I could break that 4-minute mark but halfway through the race I just realised that today wasn’t going to be that day,” said Fairweather.
“I didn’t quite nail that first 200m today so I’ll work on that but it’s a matter of when, not if, I’ll go under that 4-minute mark.”
Eve Thomas (Coast) placed second to also qualify for worlds with Caitlin Deans (Neptune) in third.
There were huge celebrations in the men’s version of the same event with Fairweather’s training partner Zac Reid (Neptune) locking in his World Championship spot.
The 23-year-old powered home over the last 100m to take the win in a time of 3:47.87s.
Reid had missed out on qualification in the 800m and was ecstatic on seeing he’d qualified in the 400m, slapping the water in celebration before his good mate Clareburt swam over to give him a hug.
“That was fantastic, I was so emotional,” said Reid.
“It’s been a long journey to get back to this point after surgery so I’m just so happy to make it to worlds.”
Reid had hip surgery after representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympic Games. This is the first time he has qualified for the New Zealand team since then.
Lewis Clareburt (Capital) was second and Louis Clark (North Shore) third.
In the men’s 400m freestyle multi-class event it was David Beck (Mt Eden) swimming home in a time of 4:44.18s. Jack Bugler (Blenheim) was second, with James Haydon (Parnell) third.
In the 400m freestyle women’s multi class Gaby Smith (Vikings, S10) qualified for the World Para Swimming Championships with a time of 4:58.44s.
“It’ll be my second World Champs which is a pretty big achievement for me, I’m really happy to be going and it looks like we’re going to have a great team this year which is a great motivation.”
On the night where he was crowed the 2022 International Para Swimmer of the Year, Cameron Leslie (Whangārei) won the men's 50m backstroke multi class in 42.64s. Fellow Paralympian Jesse Reynolds (Hamilton Aquatics) claimed the silver in a S9 New Zealand Record with a time of 30.74s. Guy Harrison (Heretunga Sundevils) rounded out the podium for third.
Andrew Jeffcoat (Club 37) locked in his second qualification for the upcoming World Championships, swimming a 24.85s in the 50m backstroke. Zac Dell (Club 37) was second and Finn Harland (Capital) set an age group record (17 years) 25.67s to place third.
The closest swim of the meet then came in the men’s 100m fly with Clareburt beating Cameron Gray by one-hundredth of a second in an epic battle.
Clareburt came from behind to win in a time of 52.54s with Gray posting 52.55s.
“That was a great battle,” said Clareburt. “He smoked me at the start but I somehow managed to hang in there.”
Christopher Elson (QEII) was third.
Hazel Ouwehand (Phoenix) then grabbed her second national title of the meet, winning the 100m fly in 58.62s. Amelia Bray (TBSS) was second and Esme Paterson (Neptune) third.
In the women’s 100m fly multi class Lili-Fox Mason (Wharenui) swum home in 1:14.38s.
Asher Smith-Franklin then set another New Zealand record in the men’s 100m fly multi class, with a time of 1:02.35s.
Josh Gilbert (Club 37) was a cut above in the men’s 200m breaststroke, claiming his second national title of the meet in a time of 2:12.43s. Luan Grobbelaar (Neptune) was second and Lochlan McKenzie (Vikings) third.
In the women’s 200m breaststroke Melissa Cowan (North Shore) took the national title in a time of 2:31.16s. Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast) took second and Rebecca Wilkins (Phoenix) third.
Gabi Fa'amausili (Club 37) was just outside the time for World Champs in the women’s 50m back with a time of 28.43s. Hazel Ouwehand (Phoenix) was second and Emma Godwin (Heretunga Sundevils) third. Rylee Sayer (Matamata) 42.20s was first in the multi class version of the same event.
In the 4x200 freestyle relay Capital won the men’s division in a time of and 7:33.64s and Coast won the women’s in 8:17.08s.
Congratulations to all the swimmers involved in another exciting day at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships. See below for a preview of what’s happening in the pool tomorrow.
Day Four Preview
Another potential relay team will open the competition for day four, with the Men’s 100m Freestyle kicking off events. Carter Swift, Lewis Clareburt and Cameron Gray all entered with close times, this time with Michael Pickett potentially battling it out for the top four.
Emma Godwin will be the headline act in the Women's 200m Backstroke. Emma attended the World Short Course Champs for this event in December, so is one to watch.
2022 World Short Course representative, Kane Follows, will also be putting his case forward for selection in the Men’s 200m Backstroke event, having recently swum a time under the qualification mark.
The Women's 100m Freestyle is also set to be a great race, with Laura Littlejohn, Erika Fairweather, Chelsey Edwards (Coast) and Rebecca Moynihan (Club 37) all entering times within one second of each other.
Reigning Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Lewis Clareburt, will also be competing in the Men’s 200m Butterfly, and 2022 World Short Course representative Esme Patterson will be competing in the Women’s 200m Butterfly as she aims to make her first Aquablack team.
In the multi-class events, reigning World Champion Cameron Leslie will be competing in the Men's 100m Freestyle MC, while Gaby Smith will be competing in the Women's event. In the Men’s 100m Breaststroke MC, Asher Smith-Franklin and Joshua Willmer will be battling for the national title. Willmer and Smith-Franklin currently hold the SB8 and S14 National records respectively in this event with Josh having already qualified for the Para World Championships.