Hayden Squance, Flossie Van Dyke win Eyebright Mile sea swim
Hayden Squance won his second consecutive Eyebright Mile from the Nelson Yacht Club to Tahunanui Beach on Tuesday, but rough conditions added a minute to his time of last summer.
Conditions took their toll in the 30th edition of the annual sea swim, with eight of the 114 starters abandoning and the occasional bout of sea sickness along the course.
On a good day, most swimmers would cover the course in under an hour, but 16 swimmers were slower than that in this year's race.
Squance and former two-time winner Luke Kelly battled for an advantage over the whole course, but the pair were only metres apart as they ran and dived through the shallows up to the beach finish with Squance recording 27 minutes 21 seconds for the 2km course and Kelly 13 seconds back.
Behind the two leading men, the field was spread, with Xavier Anderson (28.10) next to finish, ahead of 2010 winner Fraser Neill (28.41), Terry Bone (31.12), Fraser's father Hamish Neill (31.49), Matt Hansen (31.58), Paul Sell (32.05), Matai McGuinniety (32.47) and Ben Van Dyke (32.57), who narrowly edged out his daughter as she took the women's race.
Flossie Van Dyke (33.03) had to pull out a sharp sprint up the beach to edge out Bree Anderson for the women's title, clinching it by three seconds.
Under-16 competitors Sierra Thomas (34.03) and Sophie Alexander (34.19) were the next women to finish, ahead of Christina Harris (35.59), Georgie Trengrove (36.08), Jude Vincent (36.56) and Kerry Mathieson (37.04).
In the short race over 1300m from the Richardson St steps, Rebecca McKenzie (39.01) was first from Lincoln Mackenzie (45.55), Sali Matthews (50.12) and Erin O'Connor (54.47).