Paris Olympics: Lewis Clareburt bolts to national record at NZ swimming champs, Erika Fairweather in dominant form

  • 12/04/2024
Lewis Clareburt.
Lewis Clareburt. Photo credit: Photosport

Lewis Clareburt has ensured the records continued to tumble at the NZ swimming national championships in Hawke's Bay on Thursday night.

Less than 24 hours after recording the fastest 200m by a Kiwi in more than a decade, Clareburt repeated those heroics in the 400m, bolting to a new national record of 3m 46.85s to break a 12-year-old mark.

Clareburt set a solid pace from the outset, as good mate Zac Reid pushed him for almost all of the race, before pulling away in the last 50m.

"I was so happy with that swim," said Clareburt after his win.

 "Zac and I have had some unreal battles in the 400 over the years and I’m proud of us both going in and attacking it.

"The game plan was to go out fast and try hold on which I did but the legs were feeling it for sure."

Clareburt's time is agonisingly close to the Olympic qualifying mark of 3m 46.78s. He will attempt to qualify for the 200m butterfly on Friday.

Erika Fairweather was also in action, picking up another national title with a commanding performance in the 400m Freestyle.

The Dunedin swimmer looked comfortable and in control as she paced herself in her favoured event.

"You always want to go a little faster, I’m a bit off my PB but it’s not a bad time," said Fairweather.

“From here I’m just gonna keep on grinding, we want to swim fast all year round so just continue that momentum as we work towards Paris.”

Ouwehand was then back in the pool for her 100m Butterfly final, after earlier breaking the NZ record and hitting the Olympic qualification time in her heat.

The Aucklander was unable to recreate her heroics from the morning session, as she posted a time of 58.27s.

"I'm so tired, I put everything out there this morning and I’m buggered but it’s done for now," said Ouwehand.

"I've had so many messages and congratulations and stuff, it’s been a really happy day, I would’ve liked to have gone even better tonight but just couldn’t quite get there.

The event is the final opportunity for NZ swimmers to qualify for the Paris Olympics and Paralympic Games.