Fairweather Drops 4 Seconds, Hits 4:02.28 NZL National Record


All eyes were on American Katie Ledecky and Australian Ariarne Titmus in the heats of the women’s 400m freestyle, but another emerging star broke through in a big way today in Tokyo.

17-year-old Erika Fairweather of New Zealand fired off the fastest time of her career today in the 4free prelims, producing a mighty result of 4:02.28.

Splitting 58.40/1:01.84/1:01.90/1:00.14, including a final 50m of 29.70, teen Fairweather secured the 4th seed behind the aforementioned powerhouses and 2nd seeded Li Bingjie of China who set an Asian Record with her 4:01.57.

For Fairweather, the fastest she’d ever been entering these Games was marked by the 4:06.54 she logged in April. Prior to that, the Neptune Swim Club racer had been 4:07.23 at the 2020 Vic Open and her fastest of 2019 was 4:09.33.

As such, the kiwi has managed to drop about 8 seconds in less than six months in this women’s 400m free race. That’s a potentially medal-impacting prospect with Fairweather closely linked with two other teens in Summer McIntosh of Canada and Isabel Gose of Germany, both of whom set national records of their own.

More locally, Fairweather’s 4:02.28 here in Tokyo surpasses the longstanding New Zealand national record of 4:03.63, a time Lauren Boyle registered at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

New Zealand has only ever won one Olympic medal in swimming on the women’s side, with its one and only piece of hardware, a bronze, having been captured back in 1952 by Jean Stewart in the 100m backstroke.

In yesterday’s men’s 400m IM, solid medal prospect Lewis Clareburt missed the podium after having won bronze at the 2019 FINA World Championships. As such, Fairweather could help elevate the squad with another standout performance in the final.


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Steve Nolan
2 months ago

Only swimmers in the final born before 2000 are the Americans. 🥴

2 months ago

She’s been under 4:10 six times since 2019, but still an outstanding swim in the prelims tonight!!!

4:08.78 at world juniors 2019
4:07.23 at Victorian Open 2020
4:06.54 at NZ trials 2021

Last edited 2 months ago by Kiwi1
2 months ago

Although a big drop today she has actually dropped 7secs over 2 years.

Erika Fairweather’s PB progression last 2 years
4:06.54 05/04/21
4:07.23 14/02/20
4:08.58 23/01/20
4:08.78 20/08/19
4:09.33 17/06/19

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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