Kelly notches first win in long-distance series

PETER GIBBS
Last updated 13:00 22/02/2013
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PETER GIBBS/FAIRFAX NZ

PORT ACTION: A departing container ship provides the backdrop to the 12th race of the Port Nelson Summer Swim Series. The series will be decided by the best 10 results of each swimmer.

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As the season nears its end, conditions are often at their best and so it was last night in the 12th race of the Port Nelson Summer Swim Series.

A field of 162 turned out, with 111 of them taking on the long swim of more than 1500m, including a stretch across to Haulashore Island. After a consistent season where he has never finished below fourth, 15-year-old Luke Kelly finally made the breakthrough to win his first race, sprinting home in 18min 31sec to head off Matthew Hansen by five seconds.

Although the teenagers often dominate, it was 45-year-old Simon Kneebone who finished next, followed by the first woman, 41-year-old Lisa Birkett.

Jody Keefe-Laing, Jon Linyard, Hayden Squance and Denis Cooper were next back to the shore, ahead of 15-year-old Libby Gray.

Kerry Mathieson and Philippa Kennard took out the next two women's spots, with Jude Vincent and Bailee Spriggs just behind.

The back markers had some excitement as a large container ship left port.

From the shore, it appeared to be bearing down on the field of sea swimmers, but as always they were well out of the channel and it was just an illusion, adding some drama for the beach-bound spectators.

With only three swims to go of the 15 available this summer, swimmers will be scrambling to get their results in order for the best 10 which will count at the season's close.

Terry Bone has only done seven so far, but he's unbeaten in the short swim series, a record he kept intact in the 500m swim last night.

He sits in third place on the points table, but he has the chance to score a perfect 100 if he can maintain his form over the next three weeks.

A group of five teenage girls followed Bone out of the water last night, with Claire Ballance leading Georgie Trengrove, Gabrielle Hannen, Brooke Matheson and Leah Woodford.

Wesley Harris was next, the second man, followed by Julia Garde, first in the open women's section of the short swim.

Results and information, nelsonseaswims.co.nz.

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- The Nelson Mail

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