14 Apr 2024

Swimming NZ hails national champs as success

1:04 pm on 14 April 2024
Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand competes in the Men's 200m Individual Medley during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand competes in the Men's 200m Individual Medley during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Photo: Photosport

Swimming New Zealand is hailing the national championships as a success after Lewis Clareburt pulled the curtain down with an Olympic-qualifying performance in Hastings on Saturday night.

Clareburt powered to victory men's 200m individual medley in 1 minute 57.36 seconds, just nine-hundredths of a second outside his own national record set at the Tokyo Olympics nearly three years ago.

"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," Clareburt said.

"This has been a great week. We've had so many athletes make the Olympic qualification time which has been amazing."

Seven athletes clocked times that qualify them for this year's Games in Paris, with Clareburt joining Erika Fairweather, Eve Thomas, Hazel Ouwehand, Cameron Gray, Taiko Torepe-Ormsby and Kane Follows.

Paralympic qualiyfing swims were also recorded by Cameron Leslie, Lili-Fox Mason, Joshua Willmer and Jesse Reynolds.

SNZ Olympic programme lead Gary Francis said he was 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," said Francis.

"There's been a fantastic energy in this pool and the future's looking bright for swimming in New Zealand."

New Zealand swimmer Eve Thomas

New Zealand swimmer Eve Thomas Photo: Supplied / Swimming NZ

Another highlight of the final session was a battle between Fairweather and Thomas in the women's 800m freestyle final, with the pair going stroke for stroke for almost the whole race.

Thomas was slightly ahead leading into the last 50m but Fairweather pulled ahead to win in 8min 21.67sec, just 0.6sec ahead of her rival.

After earlier setting a New Zealand record (21.86sec) and hitting the Olympic qualification time in the 50m freestyle Christchurch's Taiko Torepe-Ormsby claimed the national title in the finals session, finishing in 22.08sec.

16-year-old Monique Wieruszowski then set a New Zealand record in the women's 50m breaststroke - an impressive time of 30.38s.

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