2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships: Day Four Wrap
Andrew Jeffcoat (Club 37) has claimed a triple crown at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships.
The 23-year-old was a cut above in the men’s 200m backstroke, leading from start to finish to take the national title with a 1.3s PB in a time of 1:57.26s.
“We’ve been working on going that fast, I’m really stoked because a lot of work’s gone into that,” said Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat was 0.12s off breaking the New Zealand record.
“I’ve got that record in my sights and I probably would’ve got it tonight if I didn’t screw up my finish!”
The swim qualified Jeffcoat for his third World Championship event (200m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke).
Kane Follows (Neptune) was second and Sam Brown (Capital) third.
Rising star Erika Fairweather (Neptune) joined Jeffcoat with her third national title of the meet.
Competing in the women’s 100m freestyle 19-year-old Fairweather again showed her pedigree to take the win in 54.61s.
“I’m absolutely stoked with that time,” said Fairweather
“I’ve been working on the hundred because it helps my two-hundred and four-hundred so it’s great to see that work paying off.”
Chelsea Edwards (Coast) was second and Laura Littlejohn (St Pauls) third.
Lewis Clareburt (Capital) was also amongst the action, claiming his fourth national title of the meet in dominant fashion. The 23-year-old was a cut above in the men’s 200m butterfly, winning by almost three seconds in a time of 2:00.24s.
Joel Crampton (Capital) was second claiming his first individual national medal and Blair Helms (North Shore) third.
The women’s 200 fly produced a tighter finish with Neve Tassicker (Nga Tai Tuatea a Taraika) just holding on for the win over Esme Paterson (Neptune) in a time of 2:18.83s.
Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Josh Willmer (Pukekohe) won the men’s 100m breaststroke in 1:14.15, just ahead of the record breaking machine Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore, SB14) who claimed another New Zealand record.
The 17-year-old posting a time of 1:14.54s.
“It was good to go faster than this morning and I really enjoyed having Josh Willmer in there pushing me to go quick,” said Smith-Franklin.
Earlier in the evening the men’s 100m freestyle final had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Michael Pickett (Club 37) built an early lead but Cameron Gray (Coast) pulled it back in the second 50 to win by almost a second in a time of 48.70s.
“He [Michael Pickett] scared the bejeezus out of me there,” said Gray.
“I knew a few of the boys would be out quick so I just tried to hold onto them in the first lap and then thankfully was able to pull it back in the second.”
Carter Swift (Club 37) was second and Pickett third.
Paralympian Cameron Leslie (Whangārei, SM4) was in action for the third night in a row, winning the men’s 100 freestyle multi class in a time of 1:23.14s. David Beck (Mt Eden) was second and Jack Bugler (Blenheim) third.
The women’s 200m backstroke then went down to the wire with Molly Shivnan (Mt Maunganui) powering home in the last 50m to snatch a come from behind victory in 2:14.87s.
It was the first national title for 20-year-old Shivnan. Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils) was second and Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics) third.
In the women’s 100m free multi class Gaby Smith (Vikings) was first in a time of 1:06.44s. Ella Benn (Selwyn) was second and Lili-Fox Mason (Wharenui) third.
The final event of the night saw Club 37 take the spoils in the 4x100 freestyle mixed relay in a time of 3:32.89s.
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 Five Preview
The final day of Nationals will open with one of the most anticipated races of the week, the women's 800m freestyle. With Erika Fairweather recently confirming she’s adding this event to her Paris Olympic programme, it’s promising to be a great competition with Eve Thomas and Caitlin Deans also in action.
The men’s 200m individual medley follows, with Lewis Clareburt the hot favourite to grab another national title.
Commonwealth Games medallists Dame Sophie Pascoe, Josh Willmer, Jesse Reynolds and Tupou Neiufi will then combine in the mixed 4x100m medley relay (34 points) where they’ll be looking to smash the New Zealand record and prepare for World Para Swimming Championships.
The popular 50m freestyle will be the last individual event of the championships with Cameron Gray, Carter Swift and Michael Pickett the ones to watch in the men's event. The women’s event hosts a stacked field with Chelsey Edwards, Rebecca Moynihan, Gabi Fa’amausili, Laura Littlejohn and Emma Goodwin all in the mix.