After securing a place in history, Erika Fairweather took off her goggles and shook her head in astonishment.
The 17-year-old New Zealander swam the race of her life in the 400-meter freestyle preliminaries in Tokyo last night, finishing in fourth place and advancing to the Olympic final this afternoon.
E. Fairweather Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Fast swimming from lane eight at the Olympic Aquatics Centre allowed Fairweather to break the previous national record set by Lauren Boyle in London in 2012 by almost a second.
The Dunedin high school student will compete against five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky in today’s final, with the winner becoming New Zealand’s first swimming medalist since 1996.
I told Sky, “It’s incredible, it’s so much faster than I thought I was going to go.” Fairweather said. “The opportunity presented itself, and I was determined not to let it pass me by. Indeed, I did.”
Fairweather accomplished this feat with ease, finishing second in her heat behind Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, the current world leader, at the 200-meter mark. The Kiwi was in third place with 100 metres to go, but she showed maturity beyond her years by charging to the finish line and finishing just 0.62 seconds behind Titmus.
Fairweather was seen on Tape Gazing in Disbelief at the Scoreboard After She had just Slashed More than Four Seconds off her Previous Best Time.
“After seeing it, I had to ask myself, “Is that me?” To ask, “Are you sure?” “her words I’m at a loss for words right now.
When you consider that the teen’s time was fourth quickest in the field, behind only the American great Ledecky, the Chinese swimmer Li Bingjie, and the top-ranked American Titmus, you can understand why she was at a loss for words.
The day is about to get hectic for Fairweather. She’ll be back in the water for the 200-meter freestyle preliminaries at 10:05 p.m. after the final, which is scheduled to begin at 2:20 p.m.
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