Andrew Jeffcoat Nears National Record In The 200 Back With 1:57.26 At New Zealand Open

2023 NEW ZEALAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

On the first day of these New Zealand Open Championships, Cameron Gray threw down a new national record in 100 freestyle by swimming a 48.29 relay leadoff. Gray returned on day four of the meet and swam his way to victory in the 100 freestyle but slightly missed out on a new best time and New Zealand record as he stopped the clock in a 48.70.

Gray hit a 49.33 during the prelims of the 100 freestyle before dipping under 49 seconds at night. He was the only one in the 100 freestyle field to crack 49 as Carter Swift took silver with his time of 49.47. Swift’s time here was a bit faster than the relay leadoff of 49.50 he swam on day one, but is still shy of his 2022 best time of 48.79.

Michael Picket and Lewis Clareburt had a tough showdown for the bronze medal in the 100 freestyle and Picket ultimately got the upper hand. Picket touched with a 49.68, out-swimming Clareburt by just 0.15 seconds.

What’s interesting is that Gray’s winning time of 48.70 is above the auto-qualifying World Championships cut of 48.51. His time from the relay was under that standard but qualifying must occur during A finals, meaning we’ll have to wait to see if Gray gets onto the team for this event.

There were only five events between Clareburt’s first final of the night, the 100 freestyle, and his second, the 200 butterfly. Clareburt’s freestyle attempt clearly wasn’t too much to handle as he managed to swim his way to a gold medal in the 200 butterfly by hitting a 2:00.24. That was a gold medal swim for Clareburt, but still a few seconds over the FINA A standard in the event of 1:56.71.

Clareburt won by more than 3 seconds in the 200 fly as Joel Crampton came in with a 2:03.69 for silver and Blair Helms swam a 2:05.81 for bronze.

The only person to swim under the FINA A cut in an individual event on day four was Andrew Jeffcoat in the 200 backstroke. Jeffcoat made it 3-for-3 in the backstroke events with this swim, having already won the 100 backstroke and 50 backstroke at this meet, each in sub-FINA-A-cut times.

In the 200 backstroke, Jeffcoat swam a 1:57.26 to out-touch Kane Follows (1:59.86) by more than two seconds. Jeffcoat cleared the FINA A standard of 1:58.07 bc almost a second to get himself onto the team. This is a huge improvement upon Jeffcoat’s fastest-ever swim prior to this meet of 1:59.11 from April 2021. This time also got him within 0.11 seconds of Gareth Kean‘s 1:57.15 New Zealand record in the event from 2012.

Follows’ time of 1:59.86 trailed his lifetime best of 1:58.86 but got him into the wall well ahead of Sam Brown‘s 2:04.09 for the bronze.

None of the event winners in the women’s event on day four cracked FINA A cuts. Erika Fairweather got close in the 100 freestyle, taking gold with a 54.61 while the standard is a 54.25. Fairweather has already qualified for this meet in both the 200 and 400 freestyles and broke national records in both of those events with her swims at this meet. The other day four champions were Molly Shivnan in the 200 backstroke (2:14.87) and Neve Tassicker in the 200 butterfly (2:18.83).

Day four multi-class champions were Cameron Leslie (1:23.14) in the men’s 100 freestyle, Gaby Smith in the women’s 100 freestyle (1:04.55) and breaststroke (1:21.19), and Joshua Willmer (1:14.15) in the men’s 100 breaststroke.

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Bob
10 months ago

Gray already has 50 FL qual, so will get 100 FR