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Two more Tokyo qualifying times for our para swimmers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today was a day for the distance freestylers in the Para swimming community and produced two more Tokyo 2020 qualifying times, and an excellent national record.

The top ranked swim of the day belonged to Cameron Leslie, just missing the 3:00 minute barrier in the Men’s 200m Freestyle S4, but reinforcing his place at 4th in the World rankings with a time of 3:02.96 seconds in the heats and a couple of seconds slower in the final. These times are well within the qualification standard for the Paralympics.

Jesse Reynolds from Fairfield added a further Tokyo entry time to his qualifying standard yesterday in the Men’s 100m Backstroke S9, comfortably winning the Men’s 400m Freestyle multiclass in a time of 4:30.31 seconds.

The Men’s 200m Freestyle event kicked off day three of the 2021 Aon NZ Swimming Championships, featuring a lineup of New Zealand’s best freestyler swimmers.

Having already qualified for the Olympics in the 800m Freestyle (Zac Reid) and the 400 Individual Medley (Lewis Clareburt), the two swimmers were neck and neck in the heats, finishing only 0.05 seconds apart. Clareburt took the win in the final, swimming 1:48.13, with Zac claiming second and a new personal best with a time of 1:48.35 seconds.

Both times fell underneath the FINA B time but slightly out of the Olympic Standard (1:47.02) Third was Louis Clark from North Shore, also achieving a personal best (1:51.70).

Selwyn’s Gabriella Benn (S9) took out the equivalent win in the Women’s 400m Freestyle multiclass, cutting 3½ seconds from her PB to set a New Zealand record of 5:09.76 seconds. She was chased hard though by the emerging duo from Wharenui Swim Club, Gabriella Smith and Lili-Fox Mason (both S10), who took silver and bronze respectively in the 400m Freestyle multiclass.

Brearna Crawford from Waitakere Swim Club broke a new 18-Years Age Group Record in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke. Crawford swam 2:32.43 seconds in the heats and improved her time, breaking the record again in the finals (2:32:03), taking the title. In second place was Ciara Smith from Northwave Swim Club who swam 2:33.66 and in third was Lucy McKinnon from Tbss Central City who swam a personal best time of 2:34.24 seconds.

14-year-old Gabriella Smith from Wharenui Swim Club (S10) broke the 16 and under para swimming record in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi Class heat (2:29.03) and then again in the final (2:27.82). The previous record was held by fellow Wharenui member Lili-Fox Mason (2:32.18).

Neptune’s Erika Fairweather, who broke a 17-years age group record in this morning’s heats of the Women’s 200m Freestyle (1:59.09), swam even faster in the finals, breaking the record again with a time of 1:57.58s. The Olympic Qualification standard for this event is 1:57.28, which Fairweather has come close to, with a PB of 1:57.38 seconds.

New Zealand currently holds a Women’s 4 x 200m Relay spot at this year’s Olympics. This means that two individually qualified swimmers have to meet the Olympic Qualification standard for an individual event. This leaves two relay spaces for swimmers who swim a FINA B standard. Carina Doyle from North Shore Swim Club swam a time of 2:00.76 in the final of the 200m Freestyle, which was below the standard (2:00.80).

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