Olympics: Kiwi swimming world championships medal haul leaves Erika Fairweather, Lewis Clareburt primed to end New Zealand's gold drought in Paris

By their own admission, our two leading swimmers will head to this year's Olympics in an "unheard of" position.  

Lewis Clareburt on Monday won the men's 400m individual medley at the World Championships in Doha, a week after Erika Fairweather clinched New Zealand's first gold at a worlds.  

And just over five months out from Paris, it leaves the pair in a strong position to break a drought in the pool going back almost 30 years.

Lewis Clareburt celebrates his gold medal in Doha.
Lewis Clareburt celebrates his gold medal in Doha. Photo credit: Getty Images

As Clareburt touched the wall, and realised what he'd done, he removed his goggles and cap, and let the emotions fly.  

"I guess I said to myself words that I probably won't repeat," he told Newshub.   

Expletive, perhaps, excellent, definitely. His celebration of choice?  

"Maccas," he confessed. "I heard there's Maccas on this really fancy part of the island.  

"That's what I want to do."  

But getting to such a feast hasn't been easy. The world champion concedes his confidence has at times dwindled.   

A gold medal, though, justifies the move to Auckland last year, and a new coach in Mitch Nairn.  

"Seeing results straight away is good, it's promising," he added. 

Erika Fairweather won the full set of medals during her campaign.
Erika Fairweather won the full set of medals during her campaign. Photo credit: Getty Images

"But we've still got six more months of work to do together, and to redefine what we were able to put together this week.  

"Because I know, come Paris, we've got to be a whole lot faster."  

Clareburt's effort comes as part of a golden haul in Doha.   

Fairweather's win in the 400m freestyle last week was followed by silver in the 200m and bronze in 800m.   

The pair's progress leaves them well-poised for the Olympics.  

"They're so giant and weighty that I just think they'd be considered weapons," Fairweather said of her medals.  

"[It's] unheard of, absolutely unheard of. How cool is that? 

"We were up in the stands tonight and couldn't believe it. We've heard the national anthem twice in one week.  

"It was just unreal."  

Not since Danyon Loader in Atlanta '96 has that same anthem been heard at a Games.   

It could soon be pukana time in Paris.