It looks intimidating, but the longer they get, the more the swimmers seem to like the courses in the Port Nelson Summer Sea Swim Series.
Last night's course was just over 1500m, the longest on record in the Thursday series, but it still came down to a sprint between unbeaten series leader Kaiori McGuinniety and Austrian professional triathlete Martin Demuth, the pair separated by a second at the end.
Just on 150 swimmers headed down the harbour from the Nelson Yacht Club ramp, then across to Haulashore Island, combating fickle currents and wind on their way back to the start point. Many commented on how much they liked the serious challenge of the longer courses.
Maybe it's the pool background, but it doesn't seem to matter who the competition is, when it comes down to the final 50m, McGuinniety always seems to be able to pull out the fast finish.
The winner's time of 17min 31sec would stack anywhere around the world and it's a treat for Nelson to have this calibre of swimming happening every week.
Simon Kneebone, competing in M40-49 was only 10 seconds behind in 17.41, ahead of teenager Luke Kelly (18.15), who pipped Kenyan triathlete Tom Curtis by a second.
Grace Woodall was next to finish in 19.06, 15 seconds ahead of Lisa Birkett, with Amy Coulton a further 10 seconds behind. This leaves Birkett a point ahead of Coulton in series points, but Woodall has one race less at the moment and could move into the lead when the final best races are tallied in mid-March.
Swimmers in the short race dashed over 400m, with Terry Bone confirming his spot as the fastest swimmer over the short distances, ahead of Merekara McGuinniety, Georgie Trengrove, Matai McGuinniety, Brooke Matheson and Leah Woodford.
On Sunday swimmers take on the 3.8km Ironman Challenge in the Clements Endurance series, with a short option of 1300m from the Richardson St steps back to the beach.
The main race starts at 10.15am from Tahunanui Beach, heading up to the Boat Shed before crossing to Haulashore Island, then south around the toe of the island before the long drag back to the beach.
Spectators will get a good views of the first part of the race from Rocks Rd. Swim results and information, nelsonseaswims.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News