Numbers down for best night of Nelson sea swim series
The weather has wreaked havoc on the Port Nelson Sea Swims this season, with a record four cancellations in the 18-race series.
Perhaps because of the stop-start nature of things, average numbers have declined for the first time in the past decade, with only 115 swimmers on hand to celebrate one of the best nights of the season on Thursday.
The tide was high and the weather was kind. Making the most of the conditions, long courses were on offer with the main event taking in more than 1500m in a harbour tour, while the shorter event stretched out to 600m.
A lead group of four set of in the long swim, with Thomas Heaton, Talya Harwood, Hayden Squance and Matai McGuinniety content to swim together out to the dolphin navigation marker, turning slightly left to round all the yachts in the harbour between the yacht club and Fifeshire Rock before they returned to the yacht club finish line.
With season honours calculated on the best ten swims, Heaton completed his ninth this week, meaning he still has to front next week in the final swim of the summer.
He made it count, drawing away from the lead group to finish in 19min 22sec, well clear of Talya Harwood, who had one of her best results, finishing second in 19min 58sec.
Hayden Squance (20.02) was next. The 18-year old has managed three wins and a string of second places and leads the series so far.
With eight wins from nine starts, Heaton has just to achieve an average result next week to secure the series.
Harwood is also riding high with eight wins so far and is now unbeatable in the women's series with a race to go.
McGuinniety (20.35) hasn't swum enough to make an impact on the rankings, with only six swims completed, However he's had some high places in recent weeks, including a win in February, which marks him as a talent to be wary of next summer.
Terry Bone (21.01) was consistent in finishing fifth overall, making him
unbeatable over the season in M40-49.
Bree Anderson (21.53) also hasn't enough results to impact on the results, but had an excellent swim, finishing ahead of Jon Linyard (21.59) and Ben Van Dyke (22.31).
It's unusual to have three women in the top ten, especially when one of them is an unknown swimmer who signed up minutes before the swim start.
Rachel McBride is a top Canadian triathlete taking some training time in Nelson with her friend Britta Martin. McBride finished ninth in 22min 43sec, with Kerry Mathieson (12th, 22.47), Georgie Trengrove (13th, 23.00), Christina Harris (14th, 23.02) and Martin (15th, 23.04) the next women to finish.
Zara Aydon was delighted to win the 600m short swim in 8min 54sec, ahead of Josh Sheridan (9.06), Caitlyn Huhu (9.32), Robert Sheridan (9.56) and Hannah Martin (10.24).
With a swim remaining, Josh Sheridan and Finella Gibbs-Beal have the short series sewn up in the younger (under-16) age group, while Sean Trengrove and Mandy Medcalf-Stephens have the upper hand in the adult section.