Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Clareburt Claims Another Olympic Qualification Time and A NZ Open Record in the 200 IM

Huge congratulations to Capital’s Lewis Clareburt and Coach, Gary Hollywood. Another Olympic qualification time and a New Zealand Open record in the Men’s 200 Individual Medley. Clareburt beat the previous record (1:59.24) by an incredible 1.35 seconds, finishing in 1:57.89 seconds. The previous record was held by Brad Ashby in 2017 at the FINA World Championships. Lewis now holds NZ Open records in both of the 200 and 400 IM events.
Lewis was pretty happy with that race, in his post-race interview he said, “I knew I had it in me, I just had to piece it together nicely.”
19-year-old Luan Grobbelaar from Neptune came in second with a personal best time of 2:01.28 seconds. Also swimming a PB, 17-year-old Sam Brown from Capital came third with a time of 2:04.16.

Backstroke swimmer Andrew Jeffcoat from Pukekohe broke a New Zealand Open Record in the Men's 50m Back morning heats. He swam 25.06 seconds, beating the 12-year-old record previously held by Daniel Bell (25.24) at the 2009 Open Champs in Christchurch.⁠ Jeffcoat was just 0.02 of a second off breaking the record again in the finals when he swam 25.07.

It’s great to see Jeffcoat performing well in the 50m pool, after last year’s record-breaking streak in the short course backstroke events. He wasn’t far off the Olympic Qualification time for the 100m Backstroke, so I’m sure we will see him looking to try again at another qualification meet.⁠

Nikita Howarth from Hamilton Aquatics laid down another marker with her fastest time in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, clocking 1:33.26 seconds to move to the top of this year’s world rankings (SB7) and breaking a new NZ SB7 record. While she could not quite back that up in the evening, the time was Nikita’s third qualification standard for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
She was joined on the podium by Gaby Smith (SB9) and Jane Fox, who clocked a new NZ SB14 record (1:53.13). Sophie Pascoe (SB9) also clocked a Paralympic qualification time in the 100m Breast, swimming 1.25.19 seconds in the heats.
The Men’s multiclass 100m Breaststroke produced Bailey Conlan’s (SB14) first national title, leading home Jack Bugler (SB14) and Ieuan Edwards (SB8).

The Women’s 200m Individual Medley final had high hopes for Helena Gasson from Coast, after she clocked 2:12.68 seconds in the morning’s heats, just .12 of a second off the Olympic Qualification standard. Unfortunately, Gasson went slightly slower in the final (2:13.38) just missing that qualification time but winning the national title.
Gina McCarthy from Hamilton Aquatics finished second (2:15.68) breaking the 18-years Age Group record with over a second PB. Zyleika Pratt-Smith from Mt Maunganui Swim Club came in third, with a time of 2:18.74.
The Women’s multiclass 100m Freestyle saw further Tokyo qualifying standards also for Sophie Pascoe (S9), claiming gold in 1:03.86 seconds, to bring her qualifying events to six. Tupou Neiufi (S8) in second clocked a New Zealand record of 1:13.34 seconds, with 14-year-old Gaby Smith (S10) from Wharenui again rounding out the podium.
And similarly in the Men’s multiclass 100m Freestyle, Cameron Leslie (S4) from Whangarei Swimming club made it five qualified events for Tokyo 2020, winning in a time of 1:25.39 seconds. Jesse Reynolds (S9) and David Beck (S14) fought out a tight battle for second and third, in 1:01.12 and 1:01.18 seconds respectively.

It has been an invaluable competition for the para swimmers. Whilst they have had some local competitions, this is the first time in nearly two years that the high performance team has really tested themselves, and they have come within a couple of percentage points of world championships performances, despite all the disruptions of the past year. The Tokyo Paralympic Swimming team will be announced next Monday.
The last individual events of the evening were the Women’s and Men’s 100m Freestyle. Erika Fairweather from Neptune Swim Club swam a PB of 55.49 seconds in the Women’s, breaking the 17-years Age Group Record. 16-year-old Laura Littlejohn from St Pauls Swimming Club wasn’t far behind, clocking a PB of 55.99 seconds. She will need to swim faster than 55.75 to break Erika’s 16-years age group record. Emma Godwin claimed third place with finishing in 56.49 seconds.

Clareburt from Capital took the win in the Men’s 100m Freestyle (49.04), which wasn’t surprising after he broke the NZ Open record the other night in the first leg of the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay (48.96). George Williams from Coast Swim Club clocked in second with a time of 50.58, not far behind in third place, also from Coast, Tyron Henry finished in 50.61 seconds.
Rodney Taylor, who was first to receive the Harold Pettit Trophy back in 1960, awarded Lewis Clareburt with the trophy this year for ‘the most outstanding performance’ in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley. North Shore Swimming Club took the win over Capital Swim Club by 2 points, making them top overall club for 2021.

RESULTS: All results are available here.

VISION: All sessions are FREE to watch on the Sky Sport Next YouTube Page.

PHOTOGRAPHY: All event photos are to be credited by BW Media.