Class above: a school day like no other

Yesterday was not your average day at school for Erika Fairweather.

In fact, it was almost as rare as school days come.

The Kavanagh College pupil was cheered and clapped on to the school hall stage, after being announced as a member of New Zealand’s team for next month’s Tokyo Olympics.

Fairweather will compete in swimming’s 200m, 400m and 4x200m freestyle races.

Kavanagh College swimmer Erika Fairweather (left) reacts after being announced by former Otago...
Kavanagh College swimmer Erika Fairweather (left) reacts after being announced by former Otago Olympian Suzie Bates as amember of New Zealand’s Olympic team for the Tokyo Games at the school’s assembly yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Former Otago Olympian and dual international Suzie Bates, who played basketball at the 2008 Games, made the announcement at the school’s assembly yesterday.

It was a special moment for the year 13 pupil, who showed plenty of emotion standing on stage as a haka was performed for her.

‘‘I had my little moment before everyone came,’’ Fairweather said.

‘‘I was sitting in the foyer and I was like ‘holy crap, I’m going to the Olympics, this is insane’.

‘‘Then I composed myself a little bit more.’’

Fairweather has long been an impressive talent on the local and domestic scene.

But it was her efforts as a 15-year-old in 2019 that catapulted her on to the world stage.

She won a gold medal in the 200m freestyle at the junior world championships.

That came weeks after her first senior world championships, which notably included a race against American star Katie Ledecky.

Late last year she qualified for the Games in the 400m freestyle and obtained a wildcard spot in the 200m, having missed the automatic qualifying time by 0.1sec.

The Games begin on July 23.

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