Fraser Neill nabs Port Nelson sea swim victory in absence of series leader
In the absence of series leader Hayden Squance, it was left to three former series winners to battle out the honours in this week's Port Nelson Sea Swim in rough conditions over a 1200m course.
With Squance in the North Island for a series of nation triathlon events, Fraser Neill, Harrison Dean and Luke Kelly led the field into the incoming tide and the southwesterly breeze for the tough first leg of about 500m from the Nelson Yacht Club to a buoy just short of the Richardson St steps.
Neill took a line closer to shore, rounding the first buoy just ahead of Dean and Kelly.
Conditions eased on the leg north to the navigation marker in the channel and Neill eased away on the final leg back to the yacht club to win in 14 minutes 18 seconds, ahead of Dean (14.25) and Kelly (14.41).
Matai McGuinniety (14.49) was never far from the action, finishing ahead of Kaleb Johnston (14.51), Jody Keefe-Laing (15.35), Jacob Northage (16.03) and Simon Kneebone (16.33).
Kerry Mathieson (16.53) was the first woman to finish, continuing her unbeaten record in F40-49.
Jon Linyard (17.02) was tenth, showing good form leading into the national aquathlon championship in Takapuna on Saturday. Malcolm Anderson (17.06), was first of a trio in M50-59, followed by Chris Vincent (17.08) and Denis Cooper (17.15).
Jude Vincent (17.19) struck another blow in the F50-59 struggle, leading in Christina Harris by two seconds. Vincent now has seven age group wins to Harris's four in the series, with six swims to go.
Fourth woman home was Georgie Trengrove (17.26), recording her third win in F16-19.
Robert Sheridan has been a top performer in the short distance series, swimming without a wetsuit. This week he discovered the joys of neoprene, surprising himself as his latest acquisition helping power him to a clear victory over a 400m course in 4min 57sec, ahead of Skye Humphries (5.22), Nicholas Paulin (5.31), Lauren Penney (6.18), Bruce Thomas (6.19) and Emma Lynch (6.33).
Many Nelson swimmers head to Wellington this weekend for race three of the national Ocean Swim Series across the harbour from Frank Kitts Park to the Pt Jerningham lighthouse and then in to the beach at Oriental Bay.
Regular swimming continues in the Port Nelson series next week.