McGuinniety turns on the power for victory

A field of 156 swimmers took on the longest courses yet this season in last night's race in the Port Nelson Summer Sea Swim Series.

Once again, Kaiori McGuinniety emerged from the lead bunch with a killer sprint to win his fifth consecutive race, this time over a distance of 1200m.

Harrison Dean took the bridesmaid's role again, finishing in 14min 48sec, four seconds behind.

Luke Kelly is another consistent performer, and the 15-year-old was a further 24 seconds behind in last night's race, which took competitors from the Nelson Yacht Club south to a buoy near the Richardson St steps before turning into the wind and battling a chop back to the navigation "dolphin" and on to the finish back at the ramp.

British triathlete Tom Curtis is back for his third summer of training in the antipodes. He shook off the last of his jetlag with a fourth placing ahead of Simon Kneebone, Joe Thornton, Ben Van Dyke, Denis Cooper and Jody Keefe-Laing.

Amy Coulton took 10th spot in 16min 22sec, four seconds ahead of Grace Woodall, who had Kirstin Ramsay, a former Port Nelson champion now living in Christchurch, breathing down her neck just a second behind.

Lisa Birkett took time out from moving house to slip into fourth place, but holds a handy lead in the series with 44 points to Coulton's 37. Woodall is fourth with 26 points, but has acquired these in only three races.

A feature of the races is the tight competition midfield. In last night's race, for example, 14 swimmers were split by just half a minute as they finished in 42nd to 55th places.

Even though it's early in the season, some consistent performances are starting to pay off, with Cooper and Jude Vincent having a tight grip on their respective 50-59 divisions.

Coulton is ahead of both Bailee Spriggs and Pip Dwyer in 16-19, even though she's already missed a swim. Philippa Kennard in 20-29 is another to stand out early in the season.

Swimmers in the short race were tested over 400m last night, but another member of the McGuinniety family, 12-year-old Matai, stormed home to win from Georgie Trengrove, who had held the upper hand last week.

Brooke Matheson, Clara Foster, Leah Woodford and Wesley Harris were next to finish.

The sea swims go into a relaxed mode next week with a non-competition night. A relay matching fast with slow swimmers will be followed by a barbecue.

Normal racing will resume on December 27, with the 26th annual Eyebright Mile taking place on Sunday, December 30.

Details and results at nelson

The Nelson Mail