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 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


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)


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


  1. ^ a b "Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher head powerful New Zealand swimming team for Paralympics". 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 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". 18 July 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  10. ^ "New Zealand Paralympics swimmer Nikita Howarth sets world record at German Open". 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". 23 February 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Paralympian Nikita Howarth breaks world record at Southland track cycling champs". 2 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.

External links

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