Swimming: Kiwi Lewis Clareburt bolts to gold medal to cap historic world champs for New Zealand

Kiwi swimmer Lewis Clareburt has added more gold to New Zealand's haul at the world championships in Doha, bolting to victory in the men's 400m individual medley on Monday (NZ time).

Sitting in third during the backstroke, Clareburt - who was the fifth fastest qualifier for the final - made his move during the during the first lap of the breaststroke, before powering home during the freestyle leg to win in a time of 4m 09.72s and become Aotearoa's second ever swimming world champion.

A jubliant Clareburt pounded the water as his name flash up first on the board, mounting the lane rope and unleashing a mock arrow - a nod to Kiwi UFC superstar Israel Adesanya's celebration after knocking out Alex Pereira last year - followed by a celebratory pukana.

"I said to myself some words which I won't repeat," Clareburt laughed, reflecting on his immediate reaction to his win.

"I was just so happy that I'd been able to pull that off."

Lewis Clareburt shows off his god mdeal.
Lewis Clareburt shows off his god mdeal. Photo credit: Getty Images

The time also qualified the Wellingtonian for this year's Paris Olympics, sending a clear message to his rivals while backing up his gold medal in the same event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

It is Clareburt’s first ever world title and his second world championship medal following his bronze in the same event in 2019.

Max Litchfield of Great Britain was 0.68s back in second with Japan's Daiya Seto - who topped the podium alongside Clareburt at the same event in 2019 - trailing in third.

The 24-year-old's world champs title comes just a week after Erika Fairweather's groundbreaking gold in the women's 400m.

After earlier missing out on Olympic qualifications in the 200m butterfly and 200m medley finals by the slimmest of margins, Clareburt admits he entered the race on the back of a "rollercoaster" of emotions.

But new coach Mitch Nairn delivered some timely words of encouragement before he took to the blocks, which clearly paid dividends.

"It was actually pretty tough coming off those two events and then trying to turn it around," Clareburt said. "It was just a whole bunch of emotions coming together all at once.  

"Mitch gave me a pretty cool peptalk before I went into the marshalling. He pretty much said 'you don't want to lose it' and I guess I didn't in the end."

"I was on the other side of the pool so I couldn't see a bunch of anyone else in the race but I could see that I was in a good position and I was feeling good.

"I was super happy with the result."

Lewis Clareburt reacts to his win.
Lewis Clareburt reacts to his win. Photo credit: Getty Images

The event was the first for Clareburt since his recently relocation to Auckland due to a lack of training facilities in Wellington, which forced a split with longtime coach Gary Hollywood.

Clareburt concedes his peformance was a step in the right direction for the new duo but knows he'll need to lift even further to reman in medal contention in France.

"It was a huge risk to take, leaving Gary and my home set-up that was working for me," he said.

"Seeing results straightaway is promising, but we've still got six more months of work together to refine what eve put together this week because I know, come Paris, it's going to be a whole lot faster to get on the podium.

"But It's a good test to see how our relationship is going and how everything has been progressing."

New Zealand finishes the event with a total of four medals, with Fairweather also claiming silver silver in the 200m freestyle and and bronze in the 800m freestyle.