Fairweather thrilled with world champs gold

Dunedin swimmer Erika Fairweather is seen with her gold medal from the Women's 200m Freestyle...
Dunedin swimmer Erika Fairweather is seen with her gold medal from the Women's 200m Freestyle final at the FINA Junior Swimming World Championships in Budapest. Photo: Getty Images
Top of the world - and seeing off the best the Aussies could throw at her, too.

Erika Fairweather may well get weighed down with some extra luggage today.

But it is one item not every 15-year-old has in their bag.

The year 11 pupil at Kavanagh College is due to arrive back in Dunedin tomorrow from the World Junior Swimming Championships in Hungary with a gold medal she won in the 200m freestyle event early yesterday.

It was a great swim from Fairweather, a personal best, and also a New Zealand age group record.

She swam 1min 57.97sec to edge out top Australian Lani Pallister, who was just over a tenth of a second behind.

Pallister had won the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle events at the meet but Fairweather led all the way in the 200m freestyle final and held on to beat the Australian.

It was her biggest achievement in a swimming career which is going places and at a rapid pace.

She went to the world championships in Korea last month and was more than competitive.

She backed that up with her efforts in Hungary this week, finishing fourth in the 400m freestyle final and then bagging the gold medal.

Fairweather was rapt after the win.

"It was definitely a swim of a lifetime. It was a great race, super fast. It was awesome to race against these girls. I'm definitely happy with my time; this is how fast I wanted to go,'' she told local media.

She was helped in Hungary by her Dunedin-based coach Lars Hummer, and her father Mark, who was also on hand to see the medal-winning swim.

It is the ninth gold medal New Zealand has won at the world junior championships since they began in 2006.

Her family at home in Dunedin was watching early yesterday and would be keen to welcome her home tomorrow.

From there it will be some rest from the swimming pool after a hectic few months. Some study will also be a priority.

Longer term, the Tokyo Olympics is on the agenda and peaking for the national championships in Auckland next March, which also doubles as a qualifying meet.


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