Nikita Howarth

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Nikita Howarth
Nikita Howarth (cropped).jpg
Howarth in 2017
Personal information
Full name Nikita Stevie Howarth
Born (1998-12-24) 24 December 1998 (age 20)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Sport
Sport Swimming
Classifications S7, SB8, SM7
Club Te Awamutu Swim Club
Coach Steve Hay

Nikita Stevie Howarth MNZM (born 24 December 1998) is a New Zealand para-cyclist and former para-swimmer. She became New Zealand's youngest ever Paralympian after being selected for the 2012 Summer Paralympics, aged 13 years 8 months. She again represented New Zealand at the 2016 Summer Paralympics,[1] where she won the gold medal in the women's 200 metre individual medley SM7[2] and the bronze medal in the women's 50 metre butterfly S7.[3]

Howarth was born in Hamilton, and resides in nearby Cambridge. She has a congenital bilateral arm deficiency, with no right hand and her left arm ending below the elbow.[4] She attended Cambridge High School.[5]

Howarth started swimming at age "three or four" and started swimming competitively at age seven. At age eight, she was inspired to compete at the Paralympics and win a gold medal after 2004 Olympic cycling gold medallist Sarah Ulmer visited Howarth's school.[6] She is classified S7 for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, SB8 for breaststroke, and SM7 for individual medley.[7]

Howarth was selected to represent New Zealand at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. She competed in three events: the 50 m butterfly S7, the 100 m breaststroke SB8 and the 200 m individual medley SM7, qualifying for the finals in the latter event and finishing in sixth place. In 2013, Howarth won two medals at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal: a gold medal in the 200 m individual medley SM7 and a bronze medal in the 50 m butterfly S7.[4][8] She was selected to represent New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Competing above her classifications, she came fifth (out of six) in the 100 m freestyle S8 and seventh (out of seven) in the 100 m breaststroke SB9.

At the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Howarth won two gold medals in the 50 m butterfly S7 and the 200 m individual medley SM7,[9] qualifying her for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. She was officially confirmed to represent New Zealand at the Paralympics on 5 May 2016.[1]

While competing at the International German Championships in Berlin on 9 June 2016, Howarth set a new world record in the women's 100 m butterfly S7 with a time of 1:18.65, taking 1.49 seconds off the previous record set by American Mallory Weggemann in 2009.[10]

Howarth was a finalist for Disabled Sportsperson of the Year at the 2015 Halberg Awards.[11] She was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 New Year Honours, for her services to swimming.[12]

Following the 2016 Paralympic Games, Howarth switched her focus from para-swimming to para-cycling, and competed at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships under the C4 classification.[13]

In December 2018, she set a new world record in the C4 flying 200 m time trial event at the Southland Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand.[14]

Personal bests

Swimming

Event Time Date Location Notes
50 m freestyle (S7)
100 m freestyle (S7)
50 m backstroke (S7)
100 m backstroke (S7)
50 m breaststroke (SB8) 43.79 1 September 2012 London, England AR
100 m breaststroke (SB8) 1:28.77 9 July 2015 Glasgow, Scotland AR
50 m butterfly (S7)
100 m butterfly (S7) 1:18.65 9 June 2016 Berlin, Germany WR
200 m individual medley (SM7)

Cycling

Event Time Date Location Notes
Flying 200 m time trial (C4) 12.950 1 December 2018 Invercargill, New Zealand WR

References

  1. ^ a b "Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher head powerful New Zealand swimming team for Paralympics". Stuff.co.nz. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Results -- Women's 200 metre individual medley SM7 final" (PDF). Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Results -- Women's 50 metre butterfly S7 final" (PDF). Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Howarth claims first world title". Waikato Times. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  5. ^ Goile, Aaron (29 August 2013). "Nikita Howarth returns with Rio in her mind". Waikato Times (via Stuff.co.nz). Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  6. ^ Goile, Aaron (28 December 2013). "Everything is going swimmingly for Nikita". Waikato Times. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Classification Master List, Summer Season 2016 – New Zealand". IPC Swimming. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Swimming: Three more golds for NZ team". NZ Herald. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Sophie Pascoe, Nikita Howarth claim gold at IPC Swimming World Championships". Stuff.co.nz. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  10. ^ "New Zealand Paralympics swimmer Nikita Howarth sets world record at German Open". Stuff.co.nz. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Finalists announced for Halberg Awards". The New Zealand Herald. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  12. ^ "New Year Honours List 2017". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Paralympic champion Nikita Howarth swaps swimsuit for bike". Stuff.co.nz. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Paralympian Nikita Howarth breaks world record at Southland track cycling champs". Stuff.co.nz. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.

External links

  • Meet our youngest Paralympian, Nikita Howarth Article at nzwomensweekly.co.nz
  • Paralympics New Zealand profile
  • International Paralympic Committee profile
  • Meet Our Paralympians: Nikita Howarth – Attitude Live video profile
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