Erika Fairweather, seeking a shock medal in the Olympic 400m freestyle, was unable to recapture her form from her heat and finished eighth in the final today.
Fairweather, just 17 and the youngest competitor in the New Zealand Olympic team, stunned herself and her supporters by swimming 4min 02.28s in her heat – a personal best by an incredible four seconds – to qualify fourth fastest for the final.
But in the final she was well below that form and trailed the field in 4min 08.01s.
The race was won by Australian Ariarne Titmus, who upset defending champion Kathleen Ledecky with a time of 3min 56.69s. Bingjie Li of China was third and 14-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh was fourth.
Fairweather was philosophical after the race: “I got to swim in an Olympic final – how often does that happen? It wasn’t quite the race I wanted, but it won’t define these Olympics for me.”
She said she found it a little harder to step up for a morning final, but that it was the same for everyone.
“I didn’t expect to make a final here in Tokyo and doing that has been unreal.”
Fairweather is busy in Tokyo – the heats for her favoured 200m freestyle are being held tonight.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Erika Fairweather Swimming