15-Year-Old Fairweather blasts 1:58 to open New Zealand Relay

2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships

15-year-old Erika Fairweather dropped a lifetime best to lead off the New Zealand relay in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle. The New Zealand team made up of Fairweather, Carina Doyle, Chelsea Edwards and Eve Thomas went on to finish in 10th, in an 8:03.28, successfully securing a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Both Thomas and Edwards are also teenagers – both are just 18, indicating a promising future for the New Zealand relay.

Fairweather’s 1:58.84 was a half-second lifetime best breaking her own New Zealand age record, in an event that she has already improved from a 2:02.11 this year alone. The time is faster than any  of New Zealand’s age records in the Women’s 200m freestyle and sits just 2 seconds outside former World Championship’s medalist Lauren Boyle‘s New Zealand Open Record of 1:56.81. She now sits 5th all time for New Zealand women in the event. The time also would’ve qualified her for the 200m freestyle semi-final at the event in 15th.

Fairweather has been just outside her lifetime bests in her two individual races at the meet – the 400m freestyle and 200m freestyle. The meet is however her first taste of a major international competition, with her other age-level international experience coming at the Junior Pan Pacifics and Youth Olympic Games last year.

Fairweather is coached by Lars Humer in Dunedin and has had a breakout 2019 qualifying for both the World Champs and the World Junior Champs, as well as scoring multiple New Zealand age records. She will be looking to contend in multiple events at the upcoming World Junior Championships.

New Zealand will be aiming to also secure a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle relay. The team must achieve a minimum 12th place to qualify.

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