Olympic hopeful Lewis Clareburt honoured as New Zealand’s swimmer of the year for 2019

Lewis Clareburt won a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley at last year's world championships. Picture: GETTY IMAGES.

Lewis Clareburt might have to wait to compete for an Olympic medal – but he’s been honoured by Swimming New Zealand in the meantime.

The 20-year-old was crowned as the country’s overall swimmer of the year on Monday, after taking out the international swimmer of the year award as well.

He said it was “a huge honour” to win the international award and that he was “super stoked” to win the overall award.

“2019 was a pretty incredible year for me, going to the world championships and picking up a bronze medal.

Sophie Pascoe was crowned para swimmer of the year, while Helena Gasson and Erika Fairweather shared the domestic swimmer of the year award.

Fairweather, Glasson, and Pascoe were in the running for the swimmer of the year award alongside Clareburt, who emerged as New Zealand’s great swimming hope when he won bronze in the 400m individual medley at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

He won another bronze in the same event at last year’s world championships and was shaping as having an excellent chance to win the country’s first swimming medal in 24 years in Tokyo in July and August, before the Olympics were postponed until 2021.

“I’d like to congratulate the other finalists – Sophie, Erica, and Helena – and I’d also like to congratulate all my competitors in New Zealand the swimming community in general,” Clareburt said.

“I guess we’re all fighting against each other for national titles but at the end of the day we’re all on the same team and we’re just trying to make each other better.”

Ross Gillespie was also recognised by Swimming NZ as the technical official of the year, while Lars Humer was named coach of the year, and North Shore Swim Club was named performance swim club of the year.

 

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