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Para Swimming Legend Nikita Howarth Calls Time on Her Elite Swimming Career

Aquablack #241 & Paralympian #179 Nikita Howarth (Hamilton Aquatics) has officially retired from swimming after a glowing career as one of New Zealand's most decorated swimmers. With a career including achieving the pinnacle as a Paralympic Gold Medallist in Rio 2016, Howarth retired from competition on a high at last year's 2022 Para World Swimming Championships in Madeira with a silver medal in the SB7 100m Breaststroke.

Howarth became New Zealand's youngest ever Paralympian, when she competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London as a 13-year-old. The following year she won her first international medal at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Canada when she won gold in the SM7 200m Individual Medley and earned a bronze in the S7 50m Butterfly.

Nikita continued to impress, winning five medals at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships before notching two gold medals, in the S7 50m Butterfly and SM7 200m Individual Medley, at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow.

While competing at the International German Championships in Berlin ahead of the 2016 Paralympics, Howarth set a new world record in the women's 100m butterfly S7 with a time of 1:18.65, taking 1.49 seconds off the previous record.

With an incredible schedule of four events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, she set 3 season bests and 2 personal best times. She won a gold medal in the SM7 200m Individual Medley and a bronze medal in the S7 50m Butterfly, which resulted in her being New Zealand’s third most successful Paralympian in Rio, amongst a standout team of 31 Paralympians.

After a break from the sport in 2017 where she took up Para-Cycling, Nikita transferred back to Para swimming at the end of 2019 where she competed at her third consecutive Paralympic Games. After recovering from a skateboarding injury, Nikita narrowly missed bronze in the SB7 100m Breaststroke, finishing in fourth place with a time of 1:36.55.

Nikita has been named a finalist for the Halberg Awards Disabled Sportsperson of the Year in 2015 and was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017.

SNZ's Paralympic Programme Lead, Simon Mayne, was glowing with praise for Nikita's contribution to our sport.

"Nikita been an athlete who has gotten better and better over the course of her career, finishing with the Silver last year in Madeira. Her Rio Paralympics was a highlight to watch and I wish her all the best for the future."

As a swimming community, we are incredibly proud of you Nikita. Congratulations and thank you for your outstanding contribution to swimming, both inside and outside of the pool. All the best with the next chapter of your life.

Career Results:



2012 London Paralympic Games

6th - Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM7

9th - Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB9

11th - Women’s 50m Butterfly S7

2013 Montreal Para World Championships

Gold - 200m Medley SM7 Bronze - Women’s 50m Butterfly S7

2014 Pasadena Pan-Pacific Para Swimming Championships

Gold - 50m Butterfly S7 Gold - 200m Individual Medley SM7

2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

5th - Women's 100m Freestyle S8 7th - 100m Breaststroke SB9

2015 Glasglow Para World Championships

Gold - 200m Medley SM7 Bronze - Women's 50m Butterfly S7

2016 Berlin Para World Series

World Record - 100m Butterfly S7

2016 Rio Paralympic Games

Gold - Women’s 200m IM SM7

Bronze - Women’s 50m Butterfly S7

6th - Women’s 100m Backstroke S7

7th - Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8

2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games

4th - Women's 100m Breaststroke SB7

6th - Women's 50m Butterfly S7

2022 Madeira Para World Championships

Silver - Women's 100 Breaststroke SB7 4th - Women's 50 Butterfly S7 6th - Women's 100m Backstroke S7


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