Teen swimming talents turn attention back to the pool after sea success
The Port Nelson Sea Swim series is a multi-faceted creature, with top teen swimmers battling it out with national age groupers, triathletes and a good sprinkling of recreational swimmers, some of whom swim at a very competitive level and many of whom just aim to finish in good time each week.
With those disparate talents, it's hard to single out who is making the greatest achievement each week - everyone's a winner.
At the head of the field, the greatest depth this year has been among the teen swimmers coached by Andy Adair in Richmond, although this group will not be such a feature of the swims for the remainder of the season as they turn their focus to the pool.
Most of this group have pool swimming as their primary goal, but they're also intent upon the national open water championships in Taupo in just over a week.
It's to the credit of 18-year-old triathlon specialist Hayden Squance that he's been able to hold his own at the head of the series in the face of these swim specialists. Squance does his swim training with the Adair squad in Richmond, so knows the competition well.
However, he has to do what the swimmers do, but then get out of the water and spend many hours biking and running as well. It's a tough regime, which he gives many hours too each week. His coach attracts others to the squad for specific training, recently including Olympic Games triathlete Tony Dodds.
This week it was Christchurch swimmer Angus Syme, who is sharpening up in Nelson in advance of the the Taupo events.
Last summer, Syme placed second in both 5km and 10km national open water swim championship in the 16-17 division, so when he fronted up at the Nelson Yacht Club ramp on Thursday night it was apparent Squance would have another challenge on his hands.
In the face of an outgoing tide, the 1200m course took swimmers on a triangular course from the yacht club ramp north towards the wharf ahead of a long leg south with the tidal current down to the 'dolphin' navigation marker off Haulashore Island before heading back around a group of moored yachts and a final buoy to the finish on the yacht club ramp.
Coming around the last marker, there was nothing in it, with Symes having a marginal edge at the finish, completing the 1200m swim in 14 minutes 30 seconds, just ahead of Squance (14.32). Sam McKenzie (14.46), Xavier Anderson (14.48) and Luke Kelly (15.08) were next to finish, ahead of Caitlin Delany (15.25).
Delany is a specialist breaststroke swimmer, whose pool exploits have won her the Nelson Junior Sportswoman of the Year title and a scholarship to San Diego. As she'll now be lost to Nelson for the next four years, it was appropriate that she should complete her sea swim exploits here on a high note, which she did, edging out reigning women's champion Talya Harwood by six seconds.
Next, in eighth place, was this season's unbeaten M40-49 leader Terry Bone (15.39), ahead of teenager Bree Anderson (15.40), with Jody Keefe-Laing (16.07) rounding out the top ten.In the age group competition, Chris Vincent (17.08) scored his first win this season in M50-59, just ahead of M60-69 leader Ben Van Dyke (17.09), M40-49 triathlete Jon Linyard (17.11) and M50-59 stalwart Denis Cooper (17.12).
In one of the tightest age group competitions, Jude Vincent (17.14) made a significant move in F50-59 as she led in Christina Harris (17.57). This gives Vincent five wins to Harris's three, breaking the deadlock between the pair for the first time, as they've traded wins all season.In the short swim over 400m, Zara Aydon displayed her trademark dominance, winning in 6 minutes 5 seconds from Emily Bryant (6.14), Nicholas Paulin (6.25), Brad O'Leary (6.27) and Hannah Martin (6.30) and Skye Humphries (6.35).