Tokyo Olympics: Seven Kiwi swimmers to make Summer Games debut in 2021

  • 16/06/2021

Medal prospect Lewis Clareburt headlines a fresh-faced New Zealand swimming squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

In all, seven debutants make up the squad for the Summer Games, with the 2019 World Championship bronze medallist the most decorated.

Clareburt, an outside chance and winning a medal in the 400m individual medley says he is "stoked" to be named after a challenging 18 months of uncertainty. 

"It’s a really difficult challenge to get to the Olympic Games," Clareburt says.

"I'm extremely proud to be a part of the New Zealand Team for Tokyo along with my six teammates on the swim team. 

"Now it’s time to fine-tune our craft and get the job done." 

The New Zealand record holder lowered his Olympic entry time in the 400m medley this year - which was also an Oceania record, to place him third in the world rankings. 

Clareburt will also race in the 200m individual medley.

17-year-old Erika Fairweather will compete in the 200 and 400m freestyle events - an excellent achievement for the Kavanagh College student, who is considered a potential star of the future for the sport in New Zealand.

"The feeling of making my first Olympic team is still so surreal. I've worked so hard for this moment and it is all coming together – it’s so exciting," said Fairweather.

"Representing New Zealand and wearing the fern at the Olympic Games is a dream I've had for as long as I can remember, so words don't really do this feeling justice."

 Fairweather competed at the 2019 FINA World Championships and was the youngest swimmer (15) to make top 20 for the 200m and 400m Freestyle distances.

She went on to win gold in the 200m Freestyle event at the 2019 World Junior Championships the following month.

"We are extremely proud of the seven swimmers selected to compete in Tokyo and their individual pathways that they have taken to earn selection to the team," said Swimming New Zealand boss Steve Johns. 

"It has been a hugely challenging build-up but while all the swimmers will be making their Olympic debut, they are all experienced on the world stage and are all highly motivated to succeed at the Olympic level.

"We also acknowledge the guidance and support that the swimmers' individual coaches have provided them on their road to Tokyo and the effort and sacrifice that they have made to get their swimmers onto the Olympic team."

 New Zealand has won a total of 8 Olympic medals in swimming. The last medals brought home were by Danyon Loader from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics where he won two gold medals - one in the 200m and another in the 400m Freestyle events.

New Zealand Olympic Games swimming squad:

  • Lewis Clareburt, 200m & 400m Individual Medley 
  • Zac Reid, 400m & 800m Freestyle 
  • Erika Fairweather, 200 & 400 Freestyle, 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 
  • Eve Thomas, 800m & 1500m Freestyle, 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 
  • Hayley McIntosh, 1500m 
  • Ali Galyer, 100m & 200m Backstroke, 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay
  • Carina Doyle, 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay