Paris Olympics: NZ Swimming Champs close with eleven athletes swimming Olympic, Paralympic qualification times 

Lewis Clareburt celebrates his Olympic qualification time.
Lewis Clareburt celebrates his Olympic qualification time. Photo credit: BW Media

An incredibly successful New Zealand Swimming Championships has seen seven athletes swim individual Olympic qualification times and four swim Paralympic qualification times.  

Lewis Clareburt, Erika Fairweather, Eve Thomas, Hazel Ouwehand, Cameron Gray, Taiko Torepe-Ormsby and Kane Follows all will all be heading to Paris thanks to their performances at the meet.    

They will be joined by Cameron Leslie, Lili-Fox Mason, Joshua Willmer and Jesse Reynolds who all swam under the Paralympic qualification times.    

Swimming New Zealand Olympic Programme Lead Gary Francis is 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.

"I'd like to congratulate all the swimmers who hit those times and their coaches and support teams, as well as all the swimmers involved in this meet. There's been a fantastic energy in this pool and the future's looking bright for swimming in New Zealand."    

The final session on Saturday evening at the Hawke's Bay Regional Aquatics Centre saw  Clareburt swim under the Olympic qualification time in the men's 200m Individual Medley.    

The Tokyo Olympian powered ahead of the rest of the field to finish in 1:57.36s, just .1 of a second outside the NZ record.    

"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," said Clareburt.    

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

Clareburt's swim followed a huge battle between Fairweather and Thomas in the women's 800m Freestyle final. 

Lewis Clareburt.
Lewis Clareburt. Photo credit: BW Media

The pair went stroke for almost the whole race, with Thomas slightly ahead heading into the last 50m. However, Fairweather pulled ahead during the sprint finish to win in 8:21.67s, just ahead of Thomas in 8:22.27s.  

"I'm a bit tired now, the 800 definitely takes it out of you but I'm happy with that result," said Fairweather.    

"It's been a great week and I've loved the whole experience here."    

After becoming the fastest Kiwi to ever swim the 50m freestyle, Torepe-Ormsby claimed the national title in the final, finishing in 22.08s.    

"Definitely can't complain about today, pretty happy overall," said Torepe-Ormsby. "Coming into tonight there was a lot less pressure after making that time this morning and I'm really pleased to get that title."    

16-year-old Monique Wieruszowski then set a national record in the women's 50m Breaststroke, flying across the pool in an impressive time of 30.38s.    

Three-time Paralympian Cameron Leslie picked up the S4 50m freestyle title after swimming the Paralympic qualification time in the heats earlier in the day.