Hayden Squance returns to winning ways at Port Nelson Sea Swim Series
Hayden Squance returned from a three-week sojourn competing in triathlon events around the country for Thursday night's Port Nelson Sea Swim and wasted no time in stamping his authority on the longest race of the season in perfect conditions.
After a beautiful day, a surprisingly low turnout of 120 swimmers took part in swims of either 450m or 1600m from the Nelson Yacht Club ramp.
The longer event took swimmers across to the 'dolphin' navigation marker before heading for a buoy close to the southern end of Haulashore Island, then across to a point by the Richardson St steps and back to the start point.
Harrison Dean was in close contact at the first mark, but then Squance cruised away for a solo swim, hitting the ramp in 17 minutes 40 seconds, followed by Dean (17.56) and Kaleb Johnston (18.18).
After some tight finishes at the top of the field in recent weeks, Thursday was an easy night for timekeepers early on, as Luke Kelly (18.52), Terry Bone (19.08), Matthew Hansen (19.21), Josh Sheridan (19.34), Jacob Northage (19.37) and Simon Kneebone (20.11) occupied the first nine positions.
Ruby-Lou Stuart (20.14) filled tenth spot. It was the 14-year-old's first win of the season in the women's competition, as she held off experienced campaigners Kerry Mathieson (20.27) and Flossie Van Dyke (20.30).
Christina Harris (20.40) recorded another win in the F50-59 group as she came in ahead of Jude Vincent (20.54). With season points counting in the best 12 of the 17 possible swims, Vincent has eight wins, meaning she has only to get one ahead of Harris in the next three weeks to clinch that age group.
However, Harris has had the upper hand recently and now has six wins, so this age group is the tightest in the entire series.There were some tight finishes further back, as midfield swimmers are hitting good form and have the endurance to be highly competitive at the finish.
As the season draws to a close, swimmers are vying for points in the overall competition as well as in the various age groups, so there are many permutations.
Zara Aydon had early success in the short swim, so stepped up to the longer race for a few weeks. She's now chosen to go back to the short race, winning last night in a time of 6min 38sec, however she can now only complete a maximum of ten swims in this section, leaving the door open for Gemma Langley, who finished fourth this week in 7min 21sec, behind Robert Sheridan (6.48) and Nicholas Paulin (6.58).
Langley already has 11 results for the season and seems unbeatable in the under-16 table.
Swimming continues in the series until March 9.