Hayden Squance holds off rivals in thrilling finish to sea swim
The third swim in the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series was the most competitive yet, causing a timekeeper's nightmare as wave after wave of swimmers tumbled in on top of each other on completion of a tough 850m course.
Hayden Squance made it three from three as he raced to a three second victory over Sam McKenzie in 9 minutes 14 seconds, with Xavier Anderson a further four seconds back in 9min 21sec.
Conditions were far from ideal, as swimmers headed south, against an incoming tide for the first 400m.
After the turn, things went from tough to tougher, as the north-going tide and the south-going wind conspired to roughen up the surface, challenging swimmers to maintain their rhythm.
Coach Andy Adair produced most of the top dozen finishers, with his group of teenagers training hard for the national open water championships and getting valuable experience in the Nelson series.
Terry Bone (9.46) led in Jody Keefe-Laing (9.49), breaking the teen domination, which resumed with Caitlin Delany (9.50), who became the third person in as many weeks to lead the women's race.
Close behind was James Fleury (9.52) and Matai McGuinniety (9.55). Talya Harwood (9.56) was the next woman to finish, ahead of Bree Anderson (10.12), Leah Friend (10.29) and Piper Riley (10.40).
Josh Sheridan (10.42) was hot on their heels, with a gap to a tight group - Flossie Van Dyke (11.09), Andrew Martin (11.10), Ben Van Dyke (11.11), Jon Linyard (11.13) Kerry Mathieson (11.15), Christina Harris (11.16), Gregoire Auphan (11.19) and Jude Vincent (11.21).
Mathieson, Harris and Vincent have one of the tightest competitions in the series so far, the three finishing within seconds of each other every week so far to dominate the women's competition in the 40-49 and 50-59 groups.
Zara Aydon won the short race in the first two weeks of competition, but this week it came down to a three-way sprint over the 450m course, with Ruby-Lou Stuart winning it in 7min 4sec, ahead of Kaleb Johnston (7.05) and Aydon (7.06).
Hannah Martin (8.20) led in the next wave, followed by Skye Humphries (8.27) and Gemma Langley (8.28), with Robert Sheridan breaking the teen stranglehold to finish seventh in 8min 32sec.
For more information visit nelsonseaswims.co.nz.