Erika Fairweather Becomes 8th Fastest 400 Free Performer In History


  • Friday, March 3rd – Sunday, March 5th
  • Splash Palace, Invercargill, New Zealand
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results – Meet Mobile: South Island LC Championships 2023

Olympian Erika Fairweather fired off the fastest 400m freestyle time of her career today at the South Island Long Course Championships in her native New Zealand.

Racing on day one of the three-day affair, 19-year-old Fairweather stopped the clock in a time of 4:00.97 to grab the 400m free gold, beating the next-closest swimmer by over 13 seconds.

Fairweather’s outing overtook her own previous lifetime best and New Zealand national record of 4:02.28 produced in the heats of the event at the 2020 Olympic Games. She ultimately placed 8th in that Tokyo final with a result of 4:08.01.

Fairweather was a little more patient on the opening 100m and saved more at the end when comparing her previous national record-breaking performance to this one from Invercargill.

Previous Record – 4:02.28 New Record – 4:00.97
100 58.40 59.04
200 1:01.84 1:01.51
300 1:01.90 1:01.27
400 1:00.14 59.15

With her time tonight, Fairweather now checks in as the second-fastest Oceanic performer in history. Only reigning World Record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia is ranked ahead of the Kiwi teen.

Top 5 Oceanic Women’s LCM 400 Freestyle Performers All-Time

  1. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3:56.40 World Record, 2022
  2. Erika Fairweather (NZL), 4:00.97, 2023
  3. Lani Pallister (AUS), 4:02.16, 2022
  4. Kiah Melverton (AUS), 4:03.12, 2022
  5. Jessica Ashwood (AUS), 4:03.34, 2015

Worldwide, Fairweather’s performance now ranks her as the 8th fastest performer ever in this event.

Top 5 Worldwide Women’s LCM 400 Freestyle Performers All-Time

  1. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3:56.40 World Record, 2022
  2. Katie Ledecky (USA), 3:56.46, 2016
  3. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 3:59.15, 2009
  4. Summer McIntosh (CAN), 3:59.32, 2022
  5. Joanne Jackson (GBR), 4:00.60, 2009
  6. Leah Smith (USA), 4:00.65, 2016
  7. Rebecca Adlington (GBR), 4:00.79, 2009
  8. Erika Fairweather (NZL), 4:00.97, 2023

Fairweather now ranks #3 in the world this season, sitting only behind American Olympian Katie Ledecky and the newly-minted 200m fly World Junior Record holder from last night in Fort Lauderdale, Summer McIntosh of Canada.

2022-2023 LCM Women 400 Free

3:55.38 WR
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1 year ago

Very few people would have seen this coming. In terms of textile bests she is fifth all-time. This looks to be a rapidly improving event as there are a few others capable of nudging the 4.00 mark. At the last Olympics it was a showdown between Titmus and Ledecky. The field will be deeper in Paris but unless something extraordinary happens only McIntosh looks a realistic chance of surpassing the big two.

1 year ago

Not sure where to put this – looks like World Aquatics released new policies – junior women and men will both be ages 14-18 now I think? Plus you can be submerged after the 5 metres to go. There is an SW article on it. I’m confused. Is this correct I wonder.

1 year ago

Women’s 400 freestyle at Paris Olympics just got even more interesting with 5 women who could realistically got under the 4:00 barrier with Timus, Ledecky, McIntosh, Fairweather and Li

1 year ago

Looks like the sub-4 floodgates are about to open.

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

And li bingjie might join them

1 year ago

OUTSTANDING swim ….lets go kiwis

1 year ago

I’m not sure newly-minted 200 fly WJR holder would be the correct term for McIntosh, since the previous record was hers too

1 year ago

It’s becoming interesting. 19 years old is a good age to race at 400m distance. It would be nice if it would be more than three contenders for the gold medal in this event in Paris. So the race situation becomes complicated and the probability to be out of the podium for them will be well higher than zero if they perform not at their very bests.

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

I think you will find that 2 Chinese swimmers Li Bingie & Tang Muhan, the 2nd American, Lanni Pallister & Fairweather, all with the potential to go under 4 mins & have an outside chance of challenging the top 3 if they are off their bests.

1 year ago

Joanne Jackson – 4.00.60
Rebecca Adlington – 4.00.79

Both rank higher

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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