Introducing New Zealand’s C’Wealth Bronze Medalist Lewis Clareburt


On night 2 of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a tight battle ensued between Australian Clyde Lewis and Scottish swimmer Mark Szaranek in the men’s 400m IM. Lewis wound up winning the gold medal in 4:13.12 to Szaranek’s silver medal-garnering effort of 4:13.72, but a 3rd swimmer wasn’t too far behind, well in the mix of the medal hunt.

Earning bronze in that race was Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand, the 18-year-old who wasn’t originally supposed to even be competing in the Gold Coast, but was added to his nation’s roster just weeks before the Games began.

At the NZ qualifying meet for the Games, Clareburt missed earning selection in the 400m IM by just .10, but was told by Swimming New Zealand that he might have a chance of still making the team via discretionary selection. As such, Clareburt continued training as if he was going  down under in order to be prepared for the best-case scenario. Then came the call and Clareburt, a multi-medalist at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, was brought onto the squad.

Making the most of his opportunity, the Wellington native set himself up nicely for the men’s 400mIM final at the Games by capturing the 6th seed in a time of 4:19.16, the 2nd best time of his young career.

However, the Victoria Scholarship recipient took things to an entirely new level in the final when the Clareburt split 57.43/1:04.51/1:14.02/58.46 to clock a final time of 4:14.42 and secure New Zealand’s first swimming medal of these Games. His podium-worthy mark obliterated his previous personal best of 4:18.79 by an incredible 4+ seconds, shining a light on how successfully the teen rose to the occasion.

After the race, Clareburt said, “To get a bronze in my first ever open international competition, it’s awesome. I just followed my race plan, did everything I needed to do. I had a pretty rough backstroke this morning, but I’ve been working hard on my backstroke and breaststroke and they held up well tonight.”

Of his protegé, Clareburt’s coach, Gary Hollywood, has said, “From my perspective Lewis ranks in the top five percent of all swimmers I have coached since 1986. Lewis is a great person, a great trainer, a great competitor and a leader with great potential.” (Victoria University)

With a trajectory in the men’s 400m IM that’s brought Clareburt from 4:25.54 in 2016 to 4:18.78 in 2017 to now 4:14.42 in early 2018, Clareburt is looking to continue to make his mark in the elite racing world and help put New Zealand Swimming back on the map.

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Gary Hollywood

Thanks for the complimentary article

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