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The start of something extraordinary

Clareburt wins bunch of titles at New Zealand Age Group Champs

Wellington teenager Lewis Clareburt was the star performer on the third night of finals at the New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington.

Nearly 700 swimmers from more than 100 clubs, including several who are targeting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, are in action at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

Clareburt, 17, won the 16 years and over 400m individual medley at the start of the night, and returned with a stunning effort to win the 200m freestyle at the end of the programme.

The Capital club swimmer clocked 4:21.69 to win the 400m individual medley, which broke the national age record set by Rio Olympian Bradlee Ashby four years ago.

He then clocked a superb 1:51.70 to win the 200m freestyle, which equalled the record set by the great Danyon Loader nearly a quarter of a century ago.

“It was pretty cool. I found it hard to pace myself in the 400m IM and I didn’t know how fast I was going so it was good to come out with the result,” Clareburt said.

“I had no idea how I was going to feel after the medley, I just knew I had to warm down well after it to go into the 200m freestyle.

“Since Junior Pan Pacs last year me and my coach have been working on my weaknesses. We’ve really been focusing on my underwater work, although it probably didn’t show in the 200m freestyle tonight.

“I’ve still got the 200m IM this week which I’m targeting but I’m just taking each race and competition as it comes.”

It was Clareburt’s fourth title in three days after winning the 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly.

There were two other national records set tonight, both in the girls’ 200m freestyle in the same race. It was won by 13-year-old Erika Fairweather from the Neptune club in Dunedin, who was timed at 2:06.89 which pipped Ruby Adsett’s mark by 22/100ths of a second.

The second place in the race went to Gisborne’s Tyler Finau from the Enterprise club, in 2:10.77 which broke Kelly Newcombe’s 2001 record for 12 year olds by more than 1.5 seconds.

It brought the total to 13 national age records in three days at the championships that are also a qualifying meet for the Youth Commonwealth Games. They run until Saturday with heats from 9am and finals from 6pm and streamed live at www.swimming.org.nz

CAPTION: Wellington’s Lewis Clareburt who broke one record and equalled another at the New Zealand Age Swimming Championships in Wellington today. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Age Groups