On a night where two world records fell, it was Erika Fairweather who lit up the opening day of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Melbourne, taking home a silver medal in the 400m Freestyle. After breaking the 18 NZ Age Group record in the heats with a near 4-second personal best (3:58.27) to qualify fastest for the final, it was a battle with Australian Lani Pallister that kick started the finals session. Having previously gone head-to-head at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships in Budapest, Fairweather and Pallister edged away from the edge of the field from the outset, matching stroke for stroke through the first 300m. A strong back end saw Pallister go on to claim the gold, just ahead of Fairweather who improved upon her heat swim to re-set the 18 NZ Age Group record with 3:56.00.
The NZ team was in raptures throughout the final and the medal ceremony, with the Fairweather family sharing a special embrace with a shiny silver medal around Erika’s neck.
A big congratulations Erika, New Zealand is very proud and what a way to start the ultimate summer showdown in Melbourne! Impressively, Erika took 6-seconds off her personal best in the 400m Freestyle across the day.