Clareburt Clocks 4:15 400 IM, Galyer Hits 2Back Worlds QT On Day 1 Of NZ Open

2019 NEW ZEALAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Lewis Clareburt put on a show in the men’s 400m IM to claim his first gold of the 2019 New Zealand Open Championships.

After establishing himself as the top-seeded swimmer of the morning in 4:17.69, a mark that already dipped under the 4:17.90 FINA A QT for next month’s World Championships, the 19-year-old Capital Swim Club star busted out a winning mark of 4:15.11 to lay waste to the field and officially insert his name on the Kiwi roster for Gwangju.

Clareburt’s outing checks-in as the 3rd fastest of his young career, with his lifetime best resting at the 4:14.27 he hit for 5th place at last year’s Pan Pacs. That mark lowered his own New Zealand National Record of 4:14.42, which he produced for bronze on the Gold Coast at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Tonight, his time cleared the next closest competitor, Luan Grobbelaar by 5 seconds, although, at just 17, Grobbelaar’s 4:23.54 was a solid performance in its own right. Grobbelaar has already been named to the South African roster for the self-funded World Junior Championships, so his national allegiance is still in flux.

Ali Galyer, who formerly represented the United States, but has since changed her swimming federation to NZ, logged a World Championships-worthy mark in the women’s 200m back for gold tonight. Touching in a time of 2:09.78, Galyer easily cleared the 2:11.53 FINA A cut needed for Gwangju, as well as crushed the 2:10.26 she put up for 8th in last year’s Pan Pacific Championships final.

Entering this meet, Galyer’s personal best was represented by the 2:09.77 she logged at the 2018 U.S. Nationals, with the University of Kentucky Wildcat then announcing her intention to swim for New Zealand just 3 days later.

A trio of men was under the 55-second threshold in the men’s 100m back tonight, led by Bradlee Ashby of North Shore. He finished in a mark of 54.48, falling .42 shy of the 54.06 needed to qualify for the World Championships. Mt. Eden’s Kane Fallows was right behind Ashby in 54.78, while former Florida Gator Corey Main rounded out the top 3 in 54.89.

Zac Reid clocked a time of 7:57.40 to top the podium in the men’s 800m free, while Emma Robinson also topped the field in the women’s 1500m free in 16:41.74.

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