2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- June 18-25, 2022 (pool swimming)
- Budapest, Hungary
- Duna Arena
- LCM (50-meter format)
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COVID-19 continues its run around the deck at the 2022 FINA World Championships.
New Zealand’s teen star Erika Fairweather tested positive after finals on Day 5. According to New Zealand news website Stuff, Fairweather said she had “a scratchy throat after being in contact with several Australian athletes who had tested positive.” As of June 25th, Lani Pallister and an unnamed team official are the only ones among Australia’s Worlds contingent who have been reported as COVID positive.
The diagnosis kept Fairweather off the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay. The Kiwis’ team of Lewis Clareburt, Carter Swift, Chelsea Edwards, and Laura Littlejohn swam 3:27.91. That time set a new national record, but they missed out on the final as they finished 9th, .71 behind China. Edwards, who subbed in for Fairweather, split 55.39. Fairweather’s best flat start is 55.49 from April 2021. While she likely could have been under that with a rolling start, it’s not clear if having Fairweather on the relay would have vaulted them into the final.
Swimming New Zealand’s Olympic program lead Gary Francis is keeping a World Championships diary on Swimming New Zealand’s website. In his latest entry, he discussed the positive test. Notably, he wrote about creating a “second isolation room” for Mya Rasmussen, Fairweather’s roommate.
FINA’s protocols don’t require isolation for close contacts at these Worlds if vaccinated. But it seems Rasmussen is vaccinated–she competed in Day 8 prelims of the women’s 400 IM, where she finished 10th in 4:41.98. She wouldn’t have been able to compete if she was unvaccinated, as her six day isolation period wouldn’t have been up. So, the second isolation room looks to be out of an abundance of caution.
Fairweather is reportedly asymptomatic, but she’ll remain in isolated in Budapest until cleared to travel. Francis is staying in Budapest as well for the open water racing. After that’s complete and Fairweather is cleared, they will join the rest of the team in Spain, where they’re preparing for the Commonwealth Games.
Earlier in the meet, she finished sixth in the 400 free (4:04.73), 11th in the 200 free (1:57.43), and led off New Zealand’s seventh place 4×200 free relay team in 1:58.24. At Commonwealth Games, she’s slated to race the 100, 200, and 400 free.