Lewis Clareburt provided New Zealand with a bonus Commonwealth Games medal today when he earned a bronze in the men’s 400m individual medley.
Clareburt smashed his personal best by four seconds and finished third behind Clyde Lewis of Australia and Mark Szaranek of Scotland. The New Zealander’s time of 4min 14.42s was a revelation and meant he had room to spare over fourth-placed Ayrton Sweeney of South Africa.
A second New Zealand in the final, Bradlee Ashby, was fifth in 4min 18.61s, also a personal best.
Considering Clareburt was only the sixth fastest qualifier for the final, his vast improvement was a sensational effort.
“To get a bronze in my first ever open international competition, it’s awesome,” he said.
“I just followed my race plan, did everything I needed to do. I had a pretty rough backstroke this morning. I think it was because it was my first race, but I’ve been working hard on my backstroke and breaststroke and they held up well tonight.
“Coming home, I didn’t know how many people were in front of me. I was just gunning it.”
New Zealand’s two swimmers in the men’s 50m butterfly final, Daniel Hunter and Sam Perry, both swam right up to their best.
Hunter finished fifth in 23.87s and Perry was sixth in 23.96s. They were both personal bests. The race was won by South African Chad le Clos in 23.37s.
Hunter was delighted with his swim. “I didn’t come out with a medal, but it’s another PB,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to complain about; in fact, I’m absolutely stoked.
“The 50 fly can be such a crazy event, and the finish in the butterfly can be unpredictable, and then you’ve got other people false starting. It just takes one little skill that goes wrong for the whole race to change and be someone else’s, so to have two kiwis in the final was definitely unexpected but a really great surprise.”
Perry was equally pleased, and noted he had got faster with each round.
“I put in my best race in the final and got my best time. It wasn’t quite enough but I’m still happy with it,” he said.
In the men’s S9 100m final, Chris Arbuthnott placed fifth in a personal best time of 58.65s and Jesse Reynolds was sixth in a personal best of 1min 00.03s.
Arbuthnott said he was out to get some Aussies tonight, but it didn’t quite work out. “I still PBed. It’s fantastic and to get fifth to go along with it – amazing!”
He said he enjoyed having two New Zealanders in the final.
“Jesse has had a bit more experience than me, but it is good to room with him and swim alongside him.”
In the women’s 50m freestyle, Laticia Transom swam a personal best of 25.95s, good enough for 12th overall.
Bobbi Gichard was timed at 1min 01.75s for the 100m backstroke, which placed her 12th overall.
Corey Main was some way off his best and his 54.88s for the 100m backstroke placed him seventh in the final.
In the women’s S9 100m backstroke final, Tupou Neiufi was just outside her best time. Her 1min 17.10s meant she finished seventh.
Having qualified third for the final, there were hopes that Daniel Hunter, Corey Main, Sam Perry and Matthew Stanley - New Zealand’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team - would get among the medals. It was close but in the end they just missed out.
Australia were in a class of their own, winning in 3min 12.96s, and finishing ahead of England. Scotland fielded a beefed up team for the final and just shaded the New Zealanders, who were timed at 3min 16.60s, missing a medal by 0.75s.Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Jesse Reynolds Tupou Neiufi Chris Arbuthnott Laticia Transom Lewis Clareburt Daniel Hunter Bobbi Gichard Bradlee Ashby Sam Perry Corey Main Matthew Stanley Swimming