Paris Olympics: Three Kiwi swimmers achieve qualifying marks at national championships

Eve Thomas in action at the Tokyo Olympics.
Eve Thomas in action at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi swimmer Eve Thomas has achieved an Olympic qualifying time in her third event, taking out the women's 1500m freestyle at the national championships.

After dipping under the required times over 400 metres and 800 metres at the world championships at Doha in February, Thomas, 23, recorded 16m 07.46s - more than 1.5 seconds faster than the qualification mark.

Lauren Boyle set the NZ record at 15m 40.14s, when winning a silver medal at the 2015 world championships.

"An athlete's dream is the Olympics and to have swum under the qualification time for my second Olympics is an honour," said Thomas. "I went hard from the start tonight and I just hung on, so I'm really pleased that I stuck to my plan."

Thomas did not progress past the heats over 800 metres and 1500 metres at Tokyo 2020, but finished fourth in both events at Doha, and seventh over 400 metres.

Meanwhile, Jesse Reynolds and Josh Willmer both beat qualifying marks for the Paris Paralympics over S9 100m backstroke and SB8 100 breaststroke.

Reynolds, who silver at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, dipped under the standard in heats and then went even faster in the final, clocking 1m 05.47s. 

Jesse Reynolds in action at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Jesse Reynolds in action at the Tokyo Paralympics. Photo credit: Photosport

"To get that time in the morning and then go even quicker in the final was exactly what I was aiming for," he said. "I don't think too many people have been to three Paralympics, so I hope I can be part of that group and I’m really looking forward to competing for New Zealand again."

Commonwealth Games champion Willmer recorded 1m 13.94s in his event.

"I'm stoked," said Willmer. "I didn't measure my stroke rate that well in the heats, I got a little excited, so I kept it nice and controlled tonight and I'm really happy with that time."

World champion Erika Fairweather begins her schedule at Hastings on Wedenesday over 200m freestyle.