Erika Fairweather Quietly Moves Up to No. 6 All-Time in 400 Free with 4:00.62


Erika Fairweather Quietly Moves Up to No. 6 All-Time in 400 Free with 4:00.62

In a week where one teen’s exploits over 400 meters of swimming took center stage, another flew under the radar. New Zealand Olympian Erika Fairweather set a pair of national records at the NZ Swimming Championships, rising to No. 6 all-time in the 400 free with a time of 4:00.62.

The 19-year-old re-set her national record in the 200 free to 1:55.44, then lowered the 400 free mark to 4:00.62. It’s isn’t Summer McIntosh’s new world record of 3:56.08 or any of the collection of 3:56 times put together by Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky. But Fairweather is sixth all-time and is trying to be just the fourth woman to break four minutes, joining that current trio and Federica Pellegrini, who did so at Worlds in 2009.

“I was really confident that I could break that 4-minute mark but halfway through the race I just realised that today wasn’t going to be that day,” Fairweather told Swimming NZ. “I didn’t quite nail that first 200m today so I’ll work on that but it’s a matter of when, not if, I’ll go under that 4-minute mark.”

Fairweather was just 17 when she swam at the Tokyo Olympics. She set a national record in prelims of the 400 free to finish fourth, though she slumped to eighth in the final, nearly six seconds slower. She was also 16th in semifinals of the 200 free. She finished sixth at the 2022 World Championships in the 400 free and seems to be rounding into a perennial A final candidate, if the path to medals is jumbled. In the short-course pool, she won silver medals in Melbourne at Worlds in the 400 and 800 free

In the 200 free, Fairweather set the record in both prelims and finals, the latter a 1:55.44 for the native of Dunedin who represents Neptune Swim Club.

Fairweather has two of the five national records set in the meet thus far. Cameron Gray led off the Coast Swimming Club 400 free relay with a 48.29, lowering a record belonging to Carter Swift by a half-second. Hazel Ouwehand went 26.12 to set the women’s 50 butterfly record. Monique Wieruszowski, a 15-year-old, the mark in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.74. That record had stood since 2006, before she was born. The women’s 100 back was won by a 14-year-old, Milan Glintmeyer.

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