Cameron Gray Takes Out New Zealand’s 100 Freestyle Record With 48.29 Relay Leadoff


The first national record of the 2023 New Zealand Swimming Championships fell during the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay at the end of night one finals. Swimming the opening leg of Coast Swimming Club, Cameron Gray put up a 48.29 to snag the national record in the 100 freestyle from Carter Swift. Swift held the mark at a 48.79, which he swam at World Championships in 2022.

This is a significant time drop for Gray who held a best time of 49.77 in February when he raced at the Victorian Open LC Championships in Melbourne. He is the third seed in the entry time with a 49.63, however, which he now has a good shot at improving upon.

Gray’s team wound up in third place overall with a 3:26.33. Carter Swift also swam on this relay, opening with a 49.50 for his team, Club 37. Following Swift, Andrew Jeffcoat, Zac Dell, and Michael Picket swam to a 3:17.37 for the win. That time is within two seconds of the current national record in the men’s 4×100 freestyle, which is a 3:15.41 from the 2008 Olympics.

In the individual swimming events, this meet is a qualification meet for the 2023 World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka. The first event of the first finals session featured two men getting under the FINA A cut in the 400 IM, qualifying for Worlds.

National record-holder Lewis Clareburt won the event with a 4:14.78 to crack the qualifying standard of 4:17.48. Clareburt won the bronze medal in this event at the 2019 World Championships and is the reigning Commonwealth Games Champion. He was well off his national record of 4:08.70 here but did what he needed to do to qualify for Worlds.

The more notable swim came from the silver medalist in the event, Luan Grobbelaar, who also swam under the 400 IM cut with a 4:16.00. Grobbelaar beat his best time from 2021 of 4:18.90. Now that Clareburt and Grobbelaar have both qualified for Worlds, New Zealand might send two men to the meet, which hasn’t been the case in several years.

Eve Thomas and Caitlin Deans kept the ball rolling in event #2 as they both earned a spot on the team in the 1500 freestyle. Thomas won the women’s 1500 free in a 16:10.85, which is 13 seconds fastest than her former best time in the event of 16:23.34. Thomas was already the #2 swimmer in New Zealand’s history in this event and has now gotten a bit closer to Lauren Boyle‘s 15:40.14 national record.

Thomas will now have a chance to race the 1500 freestyle at World Championships for the first time, having swum the 800 free in 2019 and the 400 and 800 in 2022. The FINA A cut in this event is a 16:29.57, which she and Caitlin Deans both cleared.

Neither of the other event winners on day one swam under the qualifying standards as Mya Rasmussen and Zac Reid won gold in the 400 IM and 800 freestyles, respectively. Rasmussen won in a 4:43.15 to narrowly miss 4:43.06 selection standard. Reid touched the wall in a 7:57.38, trailing the qualifying time of 7:53.11. Rylee Sayer was the women’s champion in the 50 breaststroke multi-class with a 46.61 and Joshua Willmer took gold in the men’s with a 35.14. In the multi-class 100 backstroke, Jesse Reynolds took gold with a 1:06.78 and Tupou Neiufi did the same on the men’s side with a 1:25.17.

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6 months ago

If NZ now have 2 guys under 49 for flat starts, what are the chance they would send a men’s relay to WC?

Reply to  Dan
6 months ago

3! Lewis Clareburt has been 48 high.

Former Big10
6 months ago

that’s quite the improvement! that’s also under the qualifying time, but what are the qualification rules for NZ?

Reply to  Former Big10
6 months ago

must be done in individual swim – not a relay leadoff