Erika Fairweather Clocks 1:55.45 In 200 Freestyle On Day 2 Of 2024 New Zealand Olympic Trials


The second day of the 2024 New Zealand Olympic Trials was filled with promising swims, highlighted by the 200 freestyle, where the men’s and women’s race winners checked-in within a tenth of a new national record.

Erika Fairweather was a clear highlight on the day, as she scared her own 200 freestyle national record on two separate occasions. She punched a preliminary effort of 1:55.45, which scored herself lane four for the final and just missed her own national record by 0.01 from April of last year. Come the final, she posted a similar time of 1:55.49, splitting the race almost identically to her prelim swim AND national record performance. Her swim ranks her 4th in the world so far this season:

2023-2024 LCM Women 200 Free

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Splits Comparison:

Fairweather’s Prelim Swim at 2024 Olympic Trials Fairweather’s Finals Swim at 2024 Olympic Trials Fairweather’s National Record From April 2023
First 50 27.46 27.38 27.23
Second 50 56.46 (29.00) 56.60 (29.22) 56.37 (29.14)
Third 50 1:26.19 (29.73) 1:26.38 (29.78) 1:26.30 (29.93)
Fourth 50 1:55.45 (29.26) 1:55.49 (29.11) 1:55.44 (29.14)

23-year-old Laticia-Leigh Transom led Fairweather through the first 100 meters as she flipped at 26.98 for the first 50 before clocking-in at 56.57 through the 100m turn. Former USC Trojan Transom held on for 2nd with a time of 1:58.47, the only other sub-2 minute swim of the night. Fairweather’s training partner, Caitlin Deans (2:00.72), finished 3rd while Chelsey Edwards (2:01.00) touched 4th.

In the men’s race, Lewis Clareburt separated himself from the rest of the field. He hit the wall in a final time of 1:47.18, just missing Matthew Stanley‘s decade-old National record of 1:47.09 in the process. Clareburt’s swim was a new best time though, as he eclipsed his previous best of 1:47.97, a time he posted at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju. While Clareburt missed the Olympic qualifying time (1:46.26) en route to gold, he is already pre-qualified for the Paris Games in the 400 IM.

The men’s 100 backstroke saw four swimmers swim a sub-55 second time, with 24-year-old Andrew Jeffcoat (54.28) leading the way. Jeffcoat missed the Olympic qualifying standard of 53.74 even though he owns a best time of 53.46 from July’s Fukuoka World Championships. The 24-year-old is an international gold medalist, courtesy of his 50 backstroke performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Kane Follows (54.46), Zac Dell (54.65), and Finn Harland (54.95) were the other swimmers in the 54-second range. Follows had the fastest back-half of the field, as he finished in 28.02 to close the gap on Jeffcoat over the final 15-meters.

29-year-old Helena Gasson was dominant in the women’s 100 backstroke, where she touched in 1:00.51 to defeat the field by almost a full second. She flipped in 29.60 at the 50m turn before closing in 30.91, finishing just 0.52 outside of the Olympic qualifying time (59.99).

In women’s 100 breaststroke action, 16-year-old Monique Wieruszowski stamped her control over the rest of the competitors early. She tore through the first 50 in a sizzling 30.96 before ultimately finishing in 36.92 over the final 50-meters. Her final time of 1:07.88 was just off her prelim time of 1:07.82, and she just missed her national record (1:07.67) from last month’s Auckland Championships. The Olympic qualifying standard rests at 1:06.79, so it would’ve required a national record by almost a full second to earn a berth on the team.

In the men’s 100 breast, 22-year-old Josh Gilbert was the sole athlete under the 1:03-barrier. He put his hands on the wall in 1:01.26, which narrowly missed his best time of 1:01.15. The Olympic qualifying time was 59.49, which would’ve required a significant personal best as well as a national record (59.78).

Though not Olympic qualifying events, the 50 butterfly was contested for both the men and women. In the men’s race, Cameron Gray sprinted to victory (23.79) ahead of Christopher Elson (24.03) and Ben Littlejohn (24.50). Gray blasted a split of 48.25 during Tuesday’s 4×100 freestyle relay final, the fastest rolling time of the evening.

The women’s discipline was taken out by Hazel Ouwehand (26.11), who led a trio of sub-27 performances. Laura Quilter (26.58) and Zoe Pedersen (26.61) rounded out the podium behind Ouwehand. During prelims, Ouwehand broke her own national record of 26.01 with a quick 25.88 time.

Speaking to New Zealand Swimming after the race, Ouwehand said: “It’s great to get that one in the books. I knew I was going to do it this morning, I was thinking 25.9 but I’ll take 25.88! I posted some great times at Auckland Champs a month ago and I took a lot of confidence from them, it was a good mental gain and now I’ve got to back it up tomorrow.” By tomorrow, she is referring to Thursday’s 100 fly, where her best time of 57.76 situates her under the Olympic qualifying time of 57.92.

The mixed 4×100 medley relay ended the session, where Club 37 ended the night strong. The quartet of Isabelle Gibson (1:02.12), Josh Gilbert (1:00.88), Lewis Clareburt (52.34), and Gabi Fa’amausili (56.29) touched the wall in 3:51.63. The national record stands at 3:49.26 from the Fukuoka World Championships last July.

While there were no new individual Olympic qualifiers during the session, New Zealand’s women’s 4×200 free relay is qualified for the Paris, so they will need to take swimmers for that relay. Per the selection criteria, it states the following: “In relation to the 4x 100m and 4x 200m relay events, be the four fastest athletes in the 100m and 200m freestyle events (whichever is relevant) at the nomination events.”

The nomination events for Paris are these championships as well as February’s World Championship meet, where Eve Thomas posted a time of 1:59.07 in the event, which would have finished 3rd in tonight’s final, but the split can’t be considered as it was swum on a relay (even though it was a relay lead-off). According to the selection information, “relay splits will not be considered for nomination for an individual swimming or relay swimming event.”

However, the criteria also explicitly states that “all athletes nominated and selected for individual swimming events must be available for selection to relay swimming events.” Since Thomas is already qualified for the Paris Games in the 400, 800, and 1500 free distances, she can of course still swim on the relay.

It’s likely that Laticia-Leigh Transom (2nd tonight, 1:58.47) and Caitlin Deans (3rd tonight, 2:00.72) will be taken at the minimum. Chelsey Edwards, who was 4th tonight, is another consideration for the selectors. Fairweather, Transom, Thomas, and Deans set the national record (7:53.02) in this relay at the World Championships a few months ago.

New Zealand Olympic Qualifiers Through Day Two, (With Events Pre-Qualified from the 2024 World Championships In Italics):

  • Lewis Clareburt – men’s 400m IM (4:09.72)
  • Erika Fairweather – women’s 200m free (1:55.77), 400m free (3:59.44), 800m free (8:22.26)
  • Eve Thomas – women’s 400m free (4:05.87), 800m free (8:24.86),*1500m free (16:07.46)

*Shows Thomas’ qualification in a new event, but denotes that she was already pre-qualified in additional events. 

Relay qualifiers are not included above as they are not yet officially confirmed.

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1 month ago

Wasn’t out quick enough to go sub 4.

1 month ago

Clareburt takes the NZ Record with a 3:46.85 in the 400 Free. Outstanding all round swimmer.

Zac Reid pushed him – 3:48.61.

1 month ago

Swift heat swim by Erika 4:03.38. She was right on her PB in the 200 so probably a sub 4 tonight?

Ouwehand Hazel lowers her own 100 fly NR in the heats 57.43

This live results system is so much better than the trash SwimAus uses 😭

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Ouwehand qualifies via the heat swim too, so pressure is off.

Their live results are actually live. It can be done.