Fairweather just short of qualifying time

Erika Fairweather has come agonisingly close to a second Olympic qualifying time.

Erika Fairweather
Erika Fairweather
The 17-year-old showed all her class on day three of the national swimming championships in Auckland last night.

Fairweather (Neptune) swam a New Zealand 17-year-old record of 1min 57.58sec in the women's 200m freestyle.

She held a convincing lead by the 75m mark and finished 3sec ahead of second-placed Carina Doyle, a former Dunedin swimmer.

It left her just 0.3sec off the qualifying mark for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the second time she has fallen just short of the time in the event in which she is the reigning junior world champion.

Fellow Neptune swimmer Caitlin Deans finished fourth, her 2min 02.65sec time falling just behind St Paul's Laura Littlejohn.

Ruby Heath, also of Neptune, finished seventh.

Fairweather will seek a second gold medal today in the 400m freestyle.

She has already qualified for the Olympics in that race, having gone under the required mark at last year's Auckland championships.

In the women's 200m breaststroke Ciara Smith claimed silver in 2min 33.66sec.

Smith, who swims for Northwave but is a student in Dunedin, trailed in Waitakere's Brearna Crawford.

Crawford's winning time of 2min 32.03sec was a New Zealand 18-year-old record.

Neptune finished fourth in the men's 4x100m medley relay.

Ezekiel Pine, Luan Grobbelaar, Curtis Mellsop and Tom Gold finished in 3min 53.20sec to trail third-placed Capital by six seconds.

The Neptune women's team finished seventh in the same event.

Racing continues today and concludes on Saturday.

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