Tony Dodds makes a final splash at Port Nelson sea swim series
In his third and final swim in the Port Nelson series, international triathlete Tony Dodds made it two wins from three as he powered his way to a narrow victory over Hayden Squance in rough seas.
A very low tide, sea conditions and the need to allow time for a Christmas barbecue, influenced organisers to decide on a short sharp swim over about 700m.
With the incoming tide and the wind backing each other up, the first leg south was a wild affair, with swimmers raising clouds of spray, creating haloes against the setting sun. After rounding a couple of moored yachts, the field flew back to the final buoy, pushed by both wind and current.
As they rounded the buoy, Dodds had the lead by more than two lengths, just enough to hold off Squance's fast finish.
With his Nelson swim training block behind him, Dodds now heads to Wellington for some specialist run training as he prepares for the international triathlon circuit starting in Abu Dhabi in March.
In hot pursuit, Xavier Anderson took his normal position close behind the leaders, ahead of a resurgent Fraser Neill, the former series winner back after a season off.
Matai McGuinniety and the first woman, Talya Harwood were next to finish. Harwood is well on course to retain her series crown from last year, with four wins so far after six races in the series.
Terry Bone was consistent in seventh, retaining his second spot on the points table after six swims.
Next was another former series winner, Luke Kelly, choosing the extra handicap of swimming without a wetsuit to finish two seconds ahead of .Matt Hansen, also a former series winner.
Swimming for the first time, James Fleury showed out to take 10th, ahead of Nelson's junior sportswoman of the year, breaststroke specialist Caitlin Delany, who was the second woman to reach the yacht club ramp finish line.
Bree Anderson, Sophie Alexander, Sierra Thomas, Leah Friend, Georgie Trengrove and Emma Fox were the next women to finish, with Christina Harris following to break the teen deadlock.
With 20 or more young swimmers training under coach Andy Adair at ASB pool for the national open water championships in Lake Taupo next month, the Thursday night series has had an injection of talent on alternate weeks, as the coach requires his squad to compete every second week at the yacht club ramp.
That makes it hard for some of the more mature swimmers, who have to take their chances in the off weeks. Nevertheless, there's intense competition in the age groups, particularly in F50-59, where Christina Harris and Jude Vincent have three wins each, while Janis Crampton has a consistent position of third in all six races so far.
With other commitments to get off to last night, Jon Linyard opted for the earlier short race over about 500m and in a tactic known as 'burgling' stole the victory from short series leader Zara Aydon.Next were Hannah Martin, Brad O'Leary, Nicholas Paulin, Skye Humphris and Robert Sheridan.
Long swim: Tony Dodds 7.52 1, Hayden Squance 7.54 2, Xavier Anderson 8.03 3, Fraser Neill 8.09 4, Matai McGuinniety 8.30 5, Talya Harwood 8.32 6, Terry Bone 8.36 7, Luke Kelly 8.46 8, Matt Hansen 8.48 9, James Fleury 9.04 10, Caitlin Delany 9.17 11, Bree Anderson 9.18 12, Benjamin Munro 9.19 13, Simon Kneebone 9.21 14, Sophie Alexander 9.22 15, Sierra Thomas 9.25 16, Hamish Neill 9.26 17, Leah Friend 9.27 18, Angus Perham 9.32 19, Craig Beeby 9.37 20.
Short swim: Jon Linyard 6.23 1, Zara Aydon 6.37 2, Hannah Martin 7.10 3, Brad O'Leary 7.24 4, Nicholas Paulin 7.28 5, Skye Humphries 7.37 6, Robert Sheridan 7.42 7, Gemma Langley 7.45 8, George Cuthill 7.48 9, Siggi Horner 8.41 10.