A record 179 swimmers turned out in less than favourable conditions for the ninth night of racing in the Port Nelson Summer Sea Swims from the Nelson Yacht Club last night.
Kaiori McGuinniety retained his unbeaten record on a night notable for almost no water on a very low tide and choppy conditions as a northwesterly whipped up a decent chop.
Over a 1200-metre course, McGuinniety clocked a respectable 13min 46sec, but 15-year-old Luke Kelly repeated last week's second place, 10 seconds behind, serving notice that he could be the one to topple the series leader (if anyone can).
Kenyan triathlete Tom Curtis looks in good shape heading for tomorrow's national sprint triathlon championships at Kinloch, finishing seven seconds back in 14.03, ahead of Matthew Hansen (14.23) and Simon Kneebone (14.49).
A feature of this year's series has been the appearance of several women in the top 10, but that wasn't the case last night, with only two breaking the male domination.
In a very competitive series, Grace Woodall scored her second win, taking sixth overall in 14.52, ahead of Amy Coulton in 10th overall (15.01).
Women's series leader Lisa Birkett bowed to the teenagers, finishing 12th in 15.09. The next women were Pip Dwyer (16.01), Libby Gray (16.07) and Kerry Matheson (16.41).
The men's series seems just a formality, with McGuinniety poised for maximum points over the season ahead of the second-place battle between Kelly and Kneebone.
The women's series is in a much more exciting phase, with Birkett and Coulton poised on 72 each and the form swimmer, Woodall, sitting on 63.
With two swims lost earlier in January, the 18 races are reduced to 16, with the series decided on each swimmer's best 12, so for the women it seems likely to go down to the wire between now and mid-March.
It was a McGuinniety clean sweep as 12-year-old Matai splashed home in the short course over 400m in 5min 48sec ahead of fellow 12-year-old Georgie Trengrove (5.55), with Brooke Matheson next in 6.01.
Gabrielle Hannen (6.41), Sakkie Meyer (6.52), Mirren Whyte (6.57) and Julia Garde (7.05) filled the next places in the short event.
Of the known first-time team tri-ers in last night's short swim, Lou Perkins led the way in 8.23, followed by Stuart Hague (9.20), Yvonne Shaw (10.58), Suzi Hume (11.08), Graeme Sellars (11.26) and Justine Perkins (11.32).
For full swim results, see nelsonseaswims.co.nz and for more information about the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon, teamtri.co.nz.
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