It was as if new rules applied in race six of the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series from the Nelson Yacht Club last night.
Numbers were way down - 114 swimmers taking part compared to the average of just more than 150. Several out of town swimmers added some uncertainty, while a few regular competitors in the short swim took advantage of the flat calm conditions to step up to the longer course of about 1300m.
It was the longest swim yet, but conditions have not been better, with little current and clear visibility meaning most swimmers stayed dead on course - a vital part of the sea swim experience.
As usual, Kaiori McGuinniety and Harrison Dean made it a two-horse race, with McGuinniety easing away in the final sprint, recording 15 minutes 45 seconds to win by two seconds.
In his second race since arriving for his summer training, British triathlete Tom Curtis turned the tables on teenager Luke Kelly, the pair taking the next two spots, narrowly ahead of Simon Kneebone.
After that, it was the turn of the women, with Lisa Birkett heading off teenagers Grace Woodall, Amy Coulton and Pip Dwyer.
Younger members of the McGuinniety dynasty, Matai, 12, and Merekara, 14, who have been dominant in the short swim, took advantage of the ideal conditions to step up to the long distance, leaving the door open for other swimmers to advance their cause in the short swim.
Other notable swims came from Wendy Healey in 30-39 and Jude Vincent and Eileen Searle in the 50-59 section.
Ben Van Dyke was all consistency in 60-69, finishing 8th overall, ahead of Stuart Hebberd, consistently the next strongest in that esteemed age group ahead of Bruce Wacker.
Terry Bone only needed half a chance to record his third win in the adult section of the short swim, while Georgie Trengrove, Brooke Matheson and Gabrielle Hannen, all competing in the under-16 section, took the next three places.
Matheson and Trengrove lead the junior points table with 54 points each after six races, while Rob Whittaker and Jo Rawson placed consistently to hang on to narrow leads in the adult short swim section.
- The Nelson Mail