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XXII Commonwealth Games: Key Moments

This July saw two of our very own athletes travel to Birmingham, England, for the 2022 Commonwealth Games! Lewis Clareburt (Tainui), of Capital Swim Club, was part of a 12-strong New Zealand team, who surprised many at the newly built Sandwell Aquatic Centre. Ōtaki Titans’ own, Kokoro Frost (Manase, Savai’i & Fasito’outa, Upolu), proudly represented Samoa in their history making quartet of swimmers.

 

 

The first day saw Kokoro in his busiest day of the competition. He competed in the 50m Butterfly, closely followed by the 100m Backstroke, then shortly thereafter in the 4x100m Mixed Freestyle Relay. The relay was Samoa’s first ever relay at a Commonwealth Games, as well as a new Samoa national record! In his first race, the 50m Butterfly, he also managed to pick up a new personal best, thus lowering his own Open record. 

 

The next day, Lewis was up in his distinguished 400m Individual Medley event. In the heats, Lewis clocked a time of 4:17.72 to qualify first heading into the final. He ended up maintaining this position in the final - winning his first ever Commonwealth Games title! With a time of 4:08.70, Lewis broke the National, Oceania and Commonwealth Games Record! But his crusade was not yet over. He still had two more events to compete in. The day after this emphatic win, Lewis stepped up to the blocks for his 200m Butterfly where he was up against former Olympic champion: South Africa's Chad Le Clos. An out of this world last 25m saw Lewis reign supreme in the final of this event. Another gold! In his third and final individual event, Lewis went on to win a bronze medal in the 200m Individual Medley.

 

Three medals in three events… What a competition for Lewis Clareburt and his coach Gary Hollywood! Pai rawe ki ā kōrua Gary ma Lewis!

 

 

The New Zealand Team on a whole truly had a world class campaign. Including Lewis’ performances, the team took away NINE medals, of which FIVE were Gold! Gold medals for Dame Sophie Pascoe in the Women’s S9 100m Freestyle, Joshua Wilmer in the Men’s SB8 100m Breaststroke and Andrew Jeffcoat in the Men’s 50m Backstroke. Two silver medals were won by Jesse Reynolds in the Men’s S9 100m Backstroke and Tupou Neiufi in the Women’s S8 100m Backstroke. To go with Lewis’ bronze in the 200IM was Cameron Gray’s phenomenal 50m Butterfly swim, where he brought home bronze for Aotearoa.

 

Erika Fairweather continued her fine form on the international stage with a fourth placing (by a mere 0.71s) in the final of the Women’s 400m Freestyle. Eve Thomas was also in the line-up for this event where she finished a very commendable sixth - this was after her excellent performance in the Women's 800m Freestyle Final where she finished 4th! 2016 Rio Olympian Helena Gasson’s highlight of the meet has to be her 50m Butterfly where she finished seventh in an extremely tight final. There was only 0.53 seconds between the gold medal and eighth place. With her seventh place finish, Helena broke the NZ open record in a time of 26.24 - an amazing swim! Hazel Vanessa Ouwehand had a stellar Commonwealth Games debut; with her best placing being 10th in the Women’s 50m Backstroke. Last, but not least, was Mya Rasmussen who hails from the mighty Manawatu. Mya was actually one of New Zealand Swimming’s first finalists of the Commonwealth Games in her 400m Individual Medley. She swam her way to a seventh place in the final. Her time of 4:41.81 was two seconds under her heat swim, but also, only two seconds away from the bronze medal winner!

Kā mau te wehi! Well done, Aotearoa!



We, at Swimming Wellington, are so incredibly proud of our two athletes, Lewis and Kokoro, for representing our region on the world stage! We cannot wait to see what is next in store for them both.