The Soak: Lewis Clareburt Named New Zealand Swimmer Of 2019 In Delayed Awards

Lewis Clareburt - Photo Courtesy: Jo Kleindl

The Soak – Swim News In Brief

Swimming World soaks up snippets from the realm of water sports around the world in a one-stop digest updated each day of every passing week.

If you have a snippet of news for us, let us know:

The Week of March 30-April 5, 2020

Sunday April 4

Lewis Clareburt topped the honours at the Swimming New Zealand 2019 Awards. The tardiness of the  event was in part because the federation had originally planned to be awarded during the 2020 Open championships, which were cancelled last month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an innovative awards ceremony, Swimming New Zealand, announced the winners via Facebook (watch below) with 20-year-old 2019 Gwangju World Championship bronze medallist Clareburt taking out back-to-back Swimmer of the year awards.

Clareburt became only the fifth Kiwi to win a FINA World Championship medal, with his stirring 400IM bronze, which prompted his “Silver Fern” team mates to greet him with the traditional Maori Haka when he returned to the warm down pool.

The Wellington native joined Gary Hurring (1978), Anthony Mosse (1986), Danyon Loader (1994) and Lauren Boyle (2013, 2015) as the only Kiwis to stand on a World Championship podium.

Mosse (1988) and Loader (1992 and 1996) went on to win Olympic medals – Loader double gold in the 200 and 400m freestyle in Atlanta.

The gracious youngster, who turns 21 in July and has the swimming world at his feet, accepted his awards saying: “I’m super stoked to win the Swimming New Zealand overall swimmer of the year and I just want to congratulate the other finalists Erika Fairweather and Sophie Pascoe and also want to congratulate all my competitors in NZ.”

Earlier he was named International Swimmer Award, saying: “It’s a huge honor, 2019 was a pretty incredible year for me….going to the world championships and picking up a bronze medal…I guess that’s testament to the team that sits behind me….and supports me every day, from my coach Gary Hollywood, my parents, my training partners, High Performance Sport New Zealand and all my sponsors…a huge thank you from me….”

Swimming New Zealand’s 2019 Award Winners

Para Swimmer of the Year: Sophie Pascoe
Domestic Swimmer of the Year: Helena Gasson & Erika Fairweather
Technical Official of the Year: Ross Gillespie
Performance Swim Club of the Year: North Shore Swim Club
International Swimmer of the Year: Lewis Clareburt
Coach of the Year: Lars Humer
Swimmer of the Year: Lewis Clareburt

Clareburt, coached by Gary Hollywood at Capital Swim Club, Wellington, claimed bronze in the 400m medley at the World Championships in Gwangju behind Japan’s Daiya Seto and American Jay Litherland.

Friday April 3

Halsall To Draw On Lessons Learned As An Elite Athlete

Triple world medallist and three-time Olympian Fran Halsall is drawing on her experiences as an elite athlete to guide herself and others through the coronavirus crisis.

Halsall, who won 10 European titles during a stellar career that drew to a close following Rio 2016 when she finished 0.02secs off the podium in the 50 free, will share the lessons she applied over the years in a YouTube series called ‘Controlling the Controllables’.

The 29-year-old Briton will examine resilience, mindset, habits and wellbeing over the next few weeks so that people can emerge from the crisis intact and in a good place from where they can target and reach their goals.

Halsall said:

“There were so many times I had to battle through uncertainties, I had to adapt very quickly, I had to make decisions that affected my high-performance future but there and then on the spot.

“I am going to share these experiences with everybody to get through this but also to go on and be successful.”

Thursday 2 April

Open Water Not Allowed During British Lockdown


Openwater swimming with Amnis Stream Photo Courtesy: Rob Carter

Open water swimming is not permitted in Britain during the lockdown that has been imposed in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Britons are allowed one form of daily outdoor exercise but it has been confirmed that outdoor swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea is outlawed.

Instead, exercise is restricted to walking, running or cycling, governing body Swim England has confirmed.

A statement read:

“We have spoken to Public Health England and open water swimming is an activity that is not currently permitted – the only forms of exercise allowed at this time are walking, running or cycling.

“With pools closed across the country as well, we know this is a frustrating situation for our swimmers and those who take part in all aquatic activity. However, the restrictions are currently in place for a very important reason and we’d urge all our members to ensure they abide by the Government guidelines, stay at home and avoid public gatherings to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

“We are working on a number of training plans which will cover psychology, coaching, nutrition, lifestyle plus strength and conditioning to ensure our athletes across all our disciplines can stay fit and healthy – both mentally and physically – without having to leave their homes. These will be published on our social media channels and/or website.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all leisure centres and swimming pools to close on Friday 20 March before he enforced a full lockdown three days later.

Tuesday 31 March

The Eyes Have It


Coronavirus – the Eyes Have It Photo Courtesy: Lorenzo Zazzeri

Lorenzo Zazzeri, Italian swimmer and self-taught artist, has dedicated a poignant drawing to healthcare workers and their fight on the front line of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Italy. “To the health workers at the front, armed only with science and altruism”, the image speaks for itself.

Italy, with 105,792 confirmed cases and a death toll of 12,428, is the worst-hit European nation and has suffered the word rate of mortality among nations in the pandemic so far. The United States now tops the league of confirmed cases with 188,578 infections by the close of Tuesday, March 31.

Zazzeri, 26, last raced for Italy, over 50 and 100m free, at the 2018 World Short Course Championships.

More of his work:


Federica Pellegrini Cites Beijing 2008 & Rome 2009 As Career Highlights

Federica Pellegrini says Beijing 2008 and the 2009 World Championships in Rome are the top competitions in her stellar career so far which may well now span 17 years between her first and last Olympics.

The six-time world champion was filming a short question-and-answer session for European governing body LEN in which the first question was – what is your favourite competition?

Pellegrini said: “My best competition ever was I think the gold medal in Beijing but also racing at home in Roma at the World Championships.”

Federica PELLEGRINI ITA Copenhagen 11-12-2017 Royal Arena LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships - Campionati Europei nuoto vasca corta Foto Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

Federica Pellegrini; Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

The Italian’s competition in Beijing encompassed the highs and lows of sport.

After finishing outside the medals in the 400m free, in which she had been one of the clear favourites, Pellegrini set a world record the same day in the 200m.

She then went on to win gold over four lengths in the final on 13 August in a new world record of 1:54.82 – a time only she has bettered in history.

Roll on Rome a year later and the shiny-suit chaos at the Foro Italico.

Pellegrini was given a reception by the home crowd usually reserved for pop stars and actors, the crowd chanting her name as she won two gold medals.

Again she lowered the world record in the 200m to 1:52.98 – a mark that still stands today – and became the first woman to break the four-minute barrier over 400m in 3:59.15.

Top TV series? “Game of Thrones. Absolutely.”

Favourite pre-race song? “I listen to so much dance music or hip-hop.”

Favourite meal? “Of course – pizza.”

First thing you will do when this situation is over? “I’ll be with my parents – this is very important for me.”

And finally a message: “To everybody – never give up.”

The Italian Swimming Federation Seeks Financial help

Paolo Barelli, the head of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN), has asked the Italian Government for financial support to get through the hard times flowing from the coronavirus pandemic.

His call followed the launch by Italy’s Instituto per il Credito Sportivo a program of help for those struggling or unable to pay mortgages and related loans.

The scheme at Credito Sportivo, which is administrated by Banca d’Italia, allows businesses  to suspend mortgage instalments due between the months of March and September 2020. However, an organisation such as FIN does not have mortgage payments, its funding stemming from state subsidies, membership and sponsorship and event revenue that has dried up.

Barelli has appealed for help for sports institutions that are already publicly funded – at a time when demands on public resources are legion.

Monday 30 March 

Pat O driscoll

Pat O’Driscoll (r) & son Daire: Photo Courtesy: Templeogue Swim Club Instagram

With training and competition suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, new heroes are commanding the spotlight as they save lives across the world.

One such person is Pat O’Driscoll, who won the 2009 Liffey Swim in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, and has also provided an essential service as an Aer Lingus pilot, ensuring healthcare workers have vital personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Liffey Swim is a 2.2km race down the River Liffey, which runs through Dublin and under its key bridges.

Templeogue Swimming Club posted on social media saying:

“✈️ Pat O’Driscoll, 2009 Liffey Swim winner, was yesterday one of the pilots on Aer Lingus Flight EI9019, which landed in Dublin filled with vital protective equipment for healthcare workers, shipped from Beijing.

“Pat’s was the first of 10 flights sent to transfer €28m worth of PPE, and we know that this Templeogue SC swimmer is just one among many within our aquatic community stepping up to help Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis 💪.”

View this post on Instagram

#proud #Thanks #gratitude #Repost @swimireland ・・・ ✈️ Pat O'Driscoll, 2009 Liffey Swim winner, was yesterday one of the pilots on Aer Lingus Flight EI9019, which landed in Dublin filled with vital protective equipment for healthcare workers, shipped from Beijing. – – Pat's was the first of 10 flights sent to transfer €28m worth of PPE, and we know that this Templeogue SC swimmer is just one among many within our aquatic community stepping up to help Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis 💪 – – So if you have a Pat amongst you, please tell us about them in the comments below 🙏 You can also send your stories with pictures or videos to, and we will share as many as we can to celebrate our special community. – – 📸Pat and son Daire with the Jones Engineering Dublin City Liffey Swim trophy – – #Covid19 #Coronavirus #Swimming #EI9019 #InThisTogether #WashYourHands #StayAtHome

A post shared by TEAMTSCSWIM (@teamtscswim) on

Swim Ireland responded, saying:

Share and Tweet This Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial