Lewis Clareburt, Chelsey Edwards and Imogen Skelton star at Commonwealth Youth Games
Wellington’s Lewis Clareburt, Chelsey Edwards and Imogen Skelton turned in outstanding performances to grab medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Clareburt won an astounding seven medals in the pool in the Bahamas, including three golds and four silvers. Five of the medals were individual, while two were in relay teams.
His total medal haul was almost one-quarter of the 31 medals the 19-strong New Zealand team won, while he accounted for nearly half of the eight gold medals won by the team.
The 18-year-old Scots College student broke a number of his personal bests and set a New Zealand age-group record when posting 1.49.89 in the men’s 200m freestyle to win gold. That shaved about half a second off Corey Main’s under-18 record.
“I thought coming into the meet that I would do pretty well, not to be honest not this well,” Clareburt said during the Games.
He put his strong showing down to paying more attention to what he was doing outside the pool.
“To be honest I’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff for the last year, but with more focus and emphasis on my nutrition and diet.”
Clareburt combined with Chilton Saint James student Chelsey Edwards, as well as Taranaki’s Zac Reid and Taihape’s Laticia Transom, to win the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Edwards, 16, also swam in the 200m and 400m individual freestyle, but did not make the finals after battling illness throughout the meet.
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School high jumper Skelton also broke her personal best when clearing 1.76m to win bronze in her event, six centimetres behind the winner, Northern Ireland’s Sommer Lecky.
The 16-year-old was tied on 1.76m with two other athletes, but won the bronze on countback after clearing most of her jumps at the first attempt.
“It was a personal best by two centimetres, which was really exciting. It was quite nerve-wracking doing that height because I knew I’d never cleared it before, but it went really well and the jump that I cleared it on was one of the best jumps that I’ve ever done,” Skelton said.
“I felt pretty nervous at first, but once I cleared the first height that gave me a lot of confidence and I felt better and it went really well. I cleared most of the jumps on my first attempt, which is something that I don’t always do.”
It was an amazing experience to have made it onto the podium, she said.
“It was so exciting. It’s such a big stadium and with the crowd and seeing the New Zealand flag it was amazing.”
New Zealand finished third overall on the medal table, behind England (51) and Australia (39).