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Torepe-Ormsby & Clareburt Shine Bright

Day 5 Wrap of the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships

The final day of the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships continued to deliver memorable moments, with the history books being re-written again.

The Men's 50m Freestyle had been highlighted on the event schedule as one not to miss and the crowd was ready for the action. With joint NZ Record holders Taiko Torepe-Ormsby (Wharenui & University of Wisconsin) and Michael Pickett (Club 37) having not raced one another over the past couple of years, their was eager anticipation to see this showdown in Hawke's Bay.

Torepe-Ormsby had returned from his studies at University of Wisconsin for the championships in fine form, and had kept his powder dry all week as he only competed in the Men's 50m Freestyle. He didn't disappoint as he took to the heat, where he was a cut above and had the crowd roaring as he produced the fastest 50m Freestyle swim ever by a New Zealander and achieving the qualifying standard for Paris, touching the wall in 21.86.


It was the first time a Kiwi had swum under 22 seconds and Torepe-Ormsby erupted with joy.

“I’m lost for words to be honest, I’ve dreamed about this moment for my whole life."
“I’ve been going fast the last couple of days, doing the sets my coach told me and I just can’t believe I got that Olympic time.”


After Pickett also produced a rapid heat swim (22.19), the much anticipated showdown arrived in the final. The pair went stroke for stroke the length of the pool, with Torepe-Ormsby (22.08) emerging the victor with a narrow margin over Pickett (22.17) and Cameron Gray (Coast - 22.55) coming in third.

“Definitely can’t complain about today, pretty happy overall,” said Torepe-Ormsby.
“Coming into tonight there was a lot less pressure after making that time this morning and I’m really pleased to get that title.”

Lewis Clareburt (Club 37) rounded out his packed schedule in Hawke's Bay with only one individual event on the final day, tackling the Men's 200m Individual Medley.

The Tokyo Olympian got to work early in the butterfly and backstroke leg to establish a lead over the rest of the field and showed his class to claim the national title and achieving the Paris qualifying time (1:57.36). The time was narrowly outside his NZ Record which he swum in the final in Tokyo.

Clareburt was stoked with the time and performances across the week.

“That was a good swim for me, I haven’t come anywhere near that record in three years so I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”
“This has been a great week. We’ve had so many athletes make the Olympic qualification time which has been amazing.” 

Sam Brown (Coast - 2:03.88) and Blair Helms (North Shore - 2:05.38) completed the podium.

Three-time Paralympian Cameron Leslie (Whangarei) was back in action in the pool, hitting another Paris qualification time (S4) in heat and final en route to winning the Men's 50m Freestyle Multi-Class in 38.14.

“That was really good, the goal was for a no-breath 50m, I’d never done that before and did it in a good time so I’m happy as,” said Leslie.
“I just enjoy swimming, I love the training and the competition and it’s great to be here this week.”

Finn Russ (Selwyn) continued his outstanding form with another S19 NZ Record (26.73) to claim silver and Jole Watkins (Pukekohe - 27.00) the bronze.

16-year-old Monique Wieruszowski (North Shore) set a NZ Record in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke, making her intentions clear from the start as she raced across the pool to establish a commanding lead. Wieruszowski achieved an impressive time of 30.38 to lower her previous mark by 0.29 seconds. Teammates Helena Gasson (Coast - 32.03) and Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast - 33.49) rounded out the podium.

Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) and Eve Thomas (Coast) matched up again in the Women’s 800m Freestyle, having placed third and fourth in the Doha final in February. The pair went stroke for stroke for almost the whole race, with Thomas edging ahead with 150m left to swim. The crowd were on their feet as it came down to a sprint finish, with Fairweather pulling ahead to win (8:21.67), just ahead of Thomas (8:22.27) who swum a big personal best.

“I’m a bit tired now, the 800m definitely takes it out of you but I'm happy with that result,” said Fairweather.
“It’s been a great week and I’ve loved the whole experience here.”

Both swimmers had already achieved the Paris qualifying time for this event in Doha, and both were comfortably under this standard again. Caitlin Deans (Neptune & Swim Dunedin - 8:36.40) won the bronze medal.

Gabi Fa’amausili (Club 37) produced a fast heat and final to take the national title in the Women’s 50m Freestyle (25.13) ahead of Chelsey Edwards (North Shore - 25.26) and Laura Quilter (Coast - 25.31).

Quinn Pike (Hamilton Aquatics) took out the Women's 800m Freestyle Multi-Class (10:44.14) whilst Lili-Fox Mason (Wharenui - 10:38.47) broke the NZ Record. Pike then backed up in the shorter distance to claim gold in the Women's 50m Freestyle Multi-Class (32.01), with Chloe Gladwin (Whakatane - 32.41) and Tupou Neiufi (Pukekohe - 34.40) completing the medals.

Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics & Waikato RPC - 2:16.58) won the Women’s 200m Individual Medley ahead of Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast - 2:18.92) and Helena Gasson (Coast - 2:20.71). Chloe Gladwin (Whakatane - 2:46.37) took the national title in the Multi-Class final of the same event with a S19 NZ Record, ahead of Ella Benn (Selwyn - 3:03.63) and McKenzie Drage (Aquagym - 4:05.68).

Ian Chen (SM19) was then thrilled to set another NZ Record in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley Multi-Class final in 2:25.75 as he claimed gold ahead of Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore - 2:17.65) and Jole Watkins (Pukekohe - 2:37.56). 

Larn Hamblyn-Ough (Coast - 16:12.79) put in a mammoth effort across the Men’s 1500m Freestyle to take the national title in 16:12.79, with Kinnon Broekhuizen (Hamilton Aquatics - 16:59.24) winning the silver and Oscar Greenwood (Coast - 17:24.93) the bronze. Visitor was presented to William Le Roy (Club 37 - 16:31.67).

Club 37 took a clean sweep of the Men's 50m Breaststroke, with Josh Gilbert (Club 37 - 28.22) ahead of Josh Pickett (Club 37 - 28.32) and Eli Litten (Club 37 - 28.89) for the medals. 

The event was rounded out with relays, with Coast (4:10.97) winning the Women's 4 x 100m ahead of North Shore (4:16.34) and Coast (4:18.26) whilst a New Zealand team had the opportunity to race together this club relay. The New Zealand team broke the NZ Record by 5.5 seconds to establish the new mark at 4:00.82)

The race of the championships was the Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay, with Club 37 winning the gold (3:40.17) and silver (3:42.51) and Coast (3:46.33) for bronze.

Full results from the championships are available on Swimify

Event Awards

Harold Pettit Trophy

Awarded to an individual with the most outstanding performance of the championships.

Winner: Erika Fairweather in 200m Freestyle

Yaldhurst Shield

Awarded to the top region of the championships.

Winner: Auckland

Top Club

This is awarded to the club who has scored the most points across the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships.

Winner: Coast

Event Wrap

We are celebrating an incredibly successful 2024 Apollo Projects New Zealand Swimming Championships which has seen seven athletes swim individual Olympic qualification times and four swim individual Paralympic qualification times.

Lewis Clareburt (Club 37), Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin), Eve Thomas (Coast), Hazel Ouwehand (Phoenix Aquatics), Cameron Gray (Coast), Taiko Torepe-Ormsby (Wharenui) and Kane Follows (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) all swam under the Paris Olympic qualification times at the meet. They were joined by Cameron Leslie (Whangarei), Lili-Fox Mason (Wharenui), Joshua Willmer (Pukekohe) and Jesse Reynolds (Hamilton Aquatics & Waikato RPC) who swam under the Paralympic qualification times.

Swimming NZ's Olympic Programme Lead, Gary Francis, says they’re thrilled with the results.

“Our swimmers have really stood up at this meet, they’ve been world class and have left it all out there, we’re incredibly proud of them."
“I’d like to congratulate all the swimmers who hit those times and their coaches and support teams, as well as all the swimmers involved in this meet. There’s been a fantastic energy in this pool and the future’s looking bright for swimming in New Zealand.”

You can watch the action back on the Whakaata Maori YouTube channel.

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