Day Two Wrap - 2023 Northern Arena Invitational
New Zealand swim star Erika Fairweather breezed through 2024 World Championships qualification on day two of Swimming New Zealand’s World Championship Trials.
Swimming at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland, Fairweather (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) didn’t wait for finals to lock in qualification in the 200m freestyle, swimming 1:57.67s in her heat to go a second under the required time.
The 2023 World Championship bronze medallist then picked up the pace in the final, flying home over the last 50m to finish in 1:57.23s.
“That felt tough,” said Fairweather. “It’s been a busy few months but you can’t be unhappy with going under the qualifying time.”
“I’m back home to Dunedin now for a bit of r&r, and then back on the horse and start a big training block going into Doha.”
Three other athletes also went under two-minutes in what was the best race of the night in the 200m freestyle.
Laticia-Leigh Transom (Ice Breaker Aquatics) was second to the wall in 1:59.56s, with South Africa’s Rebecca Meder in third in 1:59.76s. Eve Thomas (Coast) also clocked under 2-minutes in 1:59.87s.
Summer Osborne (North Shore) and Caitlin Deans (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) also had a close battle to be the fourth Kiwi to the wall, with Osborne just pipping Deans.
16-year-old Monique Wieruszowski (North Shore) was the other standout performer on day two of the trials, swimming outside herself to break the New Zealand record in the women’s 100m breaststroke.
Despite choking on a mouthful of water at the end of her first 50m, the young swimmer clocked 1:08.68s to knock .06s off her previous record.
“This just means I’m one step closer to the Paris Olympics so I’m pretty happy about that,” said Wieruszowski.
“I felt pretty good out there today, a few technical things to work on but happy with that swim overall.”
Wieruszowski’s time was just over a second outside the required time for Doha qualification.
In the Para swimming Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore) broke his S14 NZ record in the 200m freestyle in 2:04.63s.
“I’m really pleased with that, it was even faster than I went this morning in heats which is great,” said Smith-Franklin.
“It felt like everything was really on point out there and so I’m happy with that swim.”
There was also a handful of near misses on qualification, despite some impressive swims.
Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics) set a PB of more than a second in the women’s 400m individual medley to touch the wall in 4:44.32s.
Gabi Fa'amausili (Club 37) had a busy night, winning both the women’s 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke. The Club 37 swimmer finishing .30 of a second outside of qualification time in the freestyle and half a second outside in the 50m backstroke.
The men’s 200m freestyle was tight at the top, Zac Reid (Neptune and Swim Dunedin) took the honours in 1:49.25s, Edward Sommerville (Brisbane Grammar) was second in 1:49.46s, with Matthew Hutchins third in 1:49.68s, again just outside the time required for Doha.
272 swimmers are competing at the trials as they chase a spot in the Aquablacks squad for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha.
Sunday November 12th is the final day of the trials with Cameron Gray and Carter Swift in action in the men’s 100m freestyle. Gray has already qualified for Doha in the event and Swift will be hoping to join him.
The Women’s 800m freestyle will be another great contest, with Caitlin Deans and Eve Thomas going head-to-head in a bid to join Erika Fairweather who’s already qualified in the event.
Lewis Clareburt will be back in the pool for the men’s 200m Individual Medley, with Gina McCarthy ready for battle with Rebecca Meder in the women’s event.
The Aquablacks team for the 2024 World Championships will be announced at the end of the final session.