No rest yet for new world junior champ

More than 24 hours' travel, a quick catch-up with her schoolmates - and then off to the pool.

New world junior swimming champion Erika Fairweather will have to wait a few more days for a break.

The 15-year-old arrived home from Budapest yesterday and was greeted by Kavanagh College classmates at Dunedin Airport.

After a full-on two months - culminating in her 200m freestyle gold medal - she is nearly done.


World junior swimming champion Erika Fairweather is greeted by her Kavanagh College classmates at Dunedin Airport yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
World junior swimming champion Erika Fairweather is greeted by her Kavanagh College classmates at Dunedin Airport yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh

Fairweather headed to Moana Pool yesterday afternoon, to get in a recovery swim.

It was something she would do for the next couple of days, before having two weeks off training, she said.

That break would be well-earned.

Her improvement over the past six months has been almost as impressive as her placings.

A 1min 57.96sec gold medal-winning time leaves her just one second off Lauren Boyle's open 200m national record.

It is four seconds faster than what she was doing in April.

Meanwhile, in the 400m she has lowered her 4min 08.78sec and came agonisingly close to a medal in the final too.

She was ''stoked'' with the times and the gold medal hanging around her neck could only be described one way.

''It's pretty insane.''

Fairweather led the entire way, winning every split and edging Australian Lani Pallister for gold.

It was an impressive swim, although she did not have much to say about the race itself.

''I think there's not a lot to say - it was just another race.

''I thought I was [swimming well] during the race.

''I was feeling really good in the warm-up, but I was a wee bit nervous before.''

Having been to the senior world championships two weeks prior, she felt the arena had been much easier to adapt to.

She had been surprised by the welcome home, which was ''super cool''.

Although she headed to the pool, that break appealed.

She was not sure when her next competition would be, she said.

''It's going to be nice to have a break. I probably could've gone on without such a big one, but I'll take it while it's here.''

Despite being nearly two years younger than many of her competitors, it is Fairweather's last shot at the junior championships, which are for 14 to 17-year-olds.

Her birthday of December 31 is the age cut off. She turns 16 this year and misses the next event by a day - as she turns 18 on December 31, 2021.

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