Hayden Squance takes opening race of Port Nelson Sea Swim Series
Last year's series winner Hayden Squance picked up where he left off last summer as he cruised to victory in the opening race of the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series, held off the Nelson Yacht Club ramp on Thursday.
Despite a bleak day and cool sea temperatures, 148 swimmers braved the conditions, a little down from the opening day turnout of 162 on a sunny day last year.
With an incoming tide and an opposing wind, swimmers faced a choppy second leg on the triangular course, but most showed the signs of good winter training to finish in good time.
With open water swimming on the programme for 22 young swimmers training under coach Andy Adair at ASB pool in Richmond, the stage was set for a teen domination from the specialist pool swimmers, but it was 18-year-old triathlete Squance who established a good lead in the tricky conditions to come home in 8min 51sec, 20 seconds ahead of Sam McKenzie over a course of about 700m.
Xavier Anderson, 15, was three seconds adrift, with Talya Harwood, 17, leading the women's field, a further three seconds back in 9min 17sec.
Terry Bone, 44, broke the teen domination to finish fifth (9.50), ahead of Matai McGuinniety, 16 (10.03), Bree Anderson, 14 (10.07) and Benjamin Munro, 15 (10.26).
Hamish Neill, 53, (10.42) also broke the teen stranglehold, with Leah Friend, 14 (10.38) bringing up the top 10.Simon Kneebone (10.42) and Jon Linyard (10.57) placed in the M40-49 age group, while the older women finished in a flurry close behind.
Jude Vincent led the F50-59 group, finishing 14th overall in 10.59, a second ahead of the leading F40-49 swimmer Kerry Mathieson. Christine Harris (F50-59) was three seconds further back in 11.03, continuing last season's intense rivalry.Denis Cooper, 11.06, took second in M50-59, a second ahead of Ben Van Dyke, who belied his recent 66th birthday, finishing well up in the field to lead the M60-69 age group.
Recently graduated Karen Nancarrow led home fellow F60-69 debutantes Victoria Martin and Odette Llewellin, while Ralph Hetzel led home an expanding field in M70+.
In the short course over about 300m, Zara Aydon was a clear winner from Gemma Langley, Brad O'Leary, Maxime Jansens and Merekara McGuinniety.
Swimming continues for the next 18 weeks in the series, now in its 30th year. Details at nelsonseaswims.co.nz.