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Ouwehand & Mason Achieve Paris Qualifying Times

Day 3 Wrap of the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships

Auckland's Hazel Ouwehand (Phoenix Aquatics) and Christchurch’s Lili-Fox Mason (Wharenui) have swum under the respective Paris qualification times on day 3 of racing at the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships.

Competing at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatics Centre, Ouwehand and Mason weren’t leaving anything to chance, swimming the required times in the heats session.


Ouwehand came into the meet in career best form, yesterday breaking the New Zealand Record in the Women's 50m Butterfly. Today she continued in the same vein of form, storming home in the Women's 100m Butterfly in a New Zealand record time of 57.43s, almost half a second under the Paris Olympic Games qualifying time.


Upon touching the wall, Ouwehand enjoyed the moment with a special celebration before embracing her family after the race.

“I really wanted to do the time this morning and get that weight off my shoulders, I’d swum it last month so I knew I had it in me. I felt like jelly right before getting on the block, the last 15-20m hurt like hell and I’m so tired now but I’m so, so happy with that.”


Ouwehand returned to the pool for the final later that day, claiming the gold medal in her fourth fastest time in her career, just outside the Paris qualifying standard she had achieved earlier in the day.

“I’m so tired, I put everything out there this morning and I’m buggered but it’s done for now. I’ve had so many messages and congratulations and stuff, it’s been a really happy day, I would’ve liked to have gone even better tonight but just couldn’t quite get there."

Nikki Venema (Heretaunga Sundevils - 59.53) came home strong to finish under the minute barrier for silver and 15-year old Milan Glintmeyer (Coast - 1:01.29) winning the bronze.

Earlier Lili-Fox Mason swum the best she had in years in the Women’s 400m Freestyle Multi-Class, with the S10 swimmer touching the wall in 4:58.00 to go under the Paralympic qualification time.

“I’m super stoked with that swim, yesterday didn’t go to plan so to come back and do what I needed to do was a real relief. After an injury last year, I’ve been putting in lots of training and I’m really happy with that time and where I’m at."

Fox (5:03.27) returned for the final to claim the gold medal ahead of Ella Benn (Selwyn - 5:18.26) and Chloe Gladwin (Whakatane - 5:07.82).

Lewis Clareburt (Club 37) produced a record breaking performance in the Men’s 400m Freestyle. Clareburt set a solid pace from the outset, as good mate Zac Reid (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) pushed him for most of the race, before Clareburt pulled away over the final 50m to break the New Zealand Record for the first time in 12 years.

“I was so happy with that swim, Zac and I have had some unreal battles in the 400m over the years and I’m proud of us both going in and attacking it. The game plan was to go out fast and try hold on which I did but the legs were feeling it for sure.”

Reid (3:48.61) took home the silver medal and 18-year-old Brendan Visser (Coast - 3:58.89) the bronze.

Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) was also in action, picking up another national title with a commanding performance in the Women's 400m Freestyle. The Dunedin swimmer looked comfortable and in control as she paced herself in her favoured event, re-achieving the Paris qualifying time in heat and final.

“You always want to go a little faster, I’m a bit off my PB but it’s not a bad time. From here I’m just gonna keep on grinding, we want to swim fast all year round so just continue that momentum as we work towards Paris.”

Eve Thomas (Coast - 4:06.41) also re-achieved the Paris qualifying standard in the final after doing so in Doha en route to claiming the silver medal ahead of Caitlin Deans (Neptune & Swim Dunedin - 4:11.66).


Cameron Gray (Coast - 52.53) took the national title in the Men’s 100m Butterfly, setting up a slight lead over Ben Littlejohn (St Paul's - 53.00) during the opening lap before Christopher Elson (Vikings - 54.01) rounded out the podium.

Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore - 4:24.85) lowered the S14 NZ Record in the Men's 400m Freestyle Multi-Class alongside two other NZ Records in the same final. Jack Bugler (Blenheim - 4:41.55) won the silver medal ahead of Tate Pichon (Club 37 - 5:05.28) as he broke the S19 NZ Record and Luka Willems (Wharenui - 6:52.27) claimed the S18 NZ Record.

The Men's 50m Backstroke saw the 18 Years NZ Age Record broken by Finn Harland (Coast - 24.97) to take a commanding gold medal after ahead of teammates Zac Dell (Club 37 - 25.80) and Jack Hendy (Club 37 - 25.81).

Finn Russ (Selwyn - 29.51) picked up another title at the championships in the Men’s 50m Butterfly Multi-Class final ahead of a close finish for silver with Denver Xavier (Club 37 - 30.60) beating Jole Watkins (Pukekohe - 30.62) on to the wall. In the Women's event, Quinn Pike (Hamilton Aquatics - 35.76) took home the gold and S19 NZ Record ahead of Rylee Sayer (Matamata - 47.95).

Josh Gilbert (Club 37 - 2:13.00) claimed the gold in the Men's 200m Breaststroke after a close battle with teammate Lewis Clareburt (2:14.10) who is testing his skills across the strokes. Blair Helms (North Shore - 2:18.34) held off Sam Brown (Coast) to win the bronze medal. In the Women's event, Brearna Crawford (Waitakere - 2:29.87) won the gold medal over Melissa Cowen (North Shore - 2:33.81) and Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast - 2:38.26).

Gabi Fa'amausili (Club 37 - 28.31) took out the Women's 50m Backstroke in a close race ahead of Laura Quilter (Coast - 28.49) and local Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils - 28.72).

Finn Russ (Selwyn - 34.40) claimed his second national title of the night in the Men's 50m Backstroke Multi-Class ahead of Denver Xavier (Club 37 - 35.73) and Tate Pichon (Club 37 - 36.84). Melissa Donoghue (Hamilton Aquatics - 55.11) took the gold in the Women's 50m Backstroke Multi-Class ahead of Rylee Sayer (Matamata - 59.15).

The final event of the evening saw Coast and North Shore battle in the respective Men's and Women's 4 x 200m Freestyle final, with Coast (7:48.50) taking bragging rights in the Men's whilst North Shore (8:43.35) won the Women’s event.

Full results from the day are available on Swimify

Upcoming Action - Friday 12 April

Tomorrow will see plenty of races you don't want to miss. Cameron Gray and Carter Swift (Club 37) will battling it out in the Men's 100m Freestyle. Paralympian Cameron Leslie (Whangarei) begin his campaign, racing the Men's 100m Freestyle Multi-Class. Hometown Olympic hopeful Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils) and Rio Olympian Helena Gasson (Coast) will also be in the pool, racing the Women’s 200m Backstroke. Lewis Clareburt has a busy day, going head-to-head with Kane Follows (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) and Andrew Jeffcoat (Club 37) in the Men's 200m Backstroke before rounding out the day as he attempts to hit the Olympic qualification time in the Men's 200m Butterfly.

The event is the final opportunity for New Zealand’s top swimmers to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Heats will be held from 10am each morning, with finals held in the evening from 5.40pm.

Don't miss any of the action with opportunities to watch from the grandstand pool side or on the Whakaata Maori YouTube channel.


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