Thomas Heaton and Talya Harwood wrap up Port Nelson sea swim series
There wasn't much water about, but 120 swimmers made the most of every bit of it as they took part in the final Port Nelson Sea Swim in one of the lowest tides of the summer.
Thomas Heaton led the field on a circumnavigation of the basin between Rocks Rd and Haulashore Island, but low sun made visibility difficult as the field doglegged around the harbour looking for key navigation points and in the process adding 100m or more on to the 1600m course.
Heaton broke away to record 18min 40sec with a clear gap back to Hayden Squance (19.32) and Sam McKenzie (19.50).
McKenzie is a pool specialist, competing in his first-ever Port Nelson swim, but was obviously comfortable with the distance as he outpaced the first woman, Talya Harwood by four seconds.Xavier Anderson hasn't competed since early December but showed good form a second further back.
More than two minutes went by before Ben Van Dyke (22.13) led home a group including Canadian triathlete Rachel McBride (22.16), in Nelson as she recovers from a leg injury, Bree Anderson (22.27) and Jon Linyard (22.19).
Kerry Mathieson brought up the top ten as she finished fourth in the women's field in 22min 33sec, ahead of Andrew Martin (22.39), Leah Friend (22.47) and Simon Bloomberg (23.10), one of the few swimmers to steer a straight course around the harbour.
Taking each swimmer's best ten swims, Heaton was the season leader with 99 points, ahead of Squance with 93.
Harwood took the women's trophy also with 99 points, ahead of Mathieson with 84.
Finella Gibbs-Beal and Josh Sheridan had already clinched their respective titles in the short course series, but they made sure of it with first and second place finishes in last night's swim over 600m, bringing both of them to a maximum 100 points.
Zara Aydon, Caitlyn Huhu, Robert Sheridan and Reuben Lile were next to finish.
With the Port Nelson series competed, swimmers meet next Thursday for a relay and prizegiving, followed on Sunday March 20 with the Haulashore Circuit, a 2.8km swim that completes the Clements Windows and Doors Endurance Series, wrapping up the season.
Full results, nelsonseaswims.co.nz