‘Surreal’ to be in with elite

Dunedin swimmer Erika Fairweather and Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins at Moana Pool yesterday with the latest addition to the pool’s wall of fame. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin swimmer Erika Fairweather and Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins at Moana Pool yesterday with the latest addition to the pool’s wall of fame. Photo: Peter McIntosh
She is not old enough to vote, drink or hold a driver’s licence but Erika Fairweather has her name on the Moana Pool wall of fame.

After winning gold in the 200m at the world junior championships in Hungary in August, Fairweather has become the newest addition to the wall after nine years.

“It’s pretty surreal, really. I remember coming here since I was a little kid and looking at those people on the wall and thinking ‘they’re so cool’ and now I’m going to be like ‘oh hey there’s me!’

‘‘ I can’t believe I’m going to be next to some Kiwi legends; it’s a real honour” Fairweather said.

The 15-year-old took gold with an impressive time of 1min 57.96sec, just 0.13sec faster than silver medallist Lani Pallister, of Australia.

Despite finishing third in her heat behind American Clair Tuggle and Pallister in a time of 1:59.87, Fairweather went into the final open-minded.

“There was a lot of hype around Pallister going into the race, especially as she had already won the 800m, 400m and the 1500m, but I just went in thinking ‘just try and give her a run for her money’.

“I was just trying to keep calm and hype myself up. It’s like a long sprint so I was just making sure I was in the right head space. It was a pretty amazing moment — my family and my team-mates were there which made it really special.

“If you had told me two years ago I was going to be the junior champion I never would have believed you.”

The youngster will now prepare for the Olympic trials in March next year. In order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Fairweather will need to shave 0.07sec off her times in the 200m and 400m freestyle.

-By Holly Percival

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