Hayden Squance wins longest race of the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series
With summer reaching a glorious crescendo, the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series has only two more events remaining before the inevitable cold and dark of autumn sets in.
Hayden Squance made the most of perfect conditions on Thursday night, clearing out from the start on the longest race of the summer to clock 20 minutes 22 seconds over 1700m.
Swimmers headed south from the Nelson Yacht Club ramp, racing into a moderate tidal current for 600m before turning by the Richardson St steps and heading off on a 500m leg to the Haulashore Island jetty.
The final leg of 600m back to the start point revealed the fitness level of many in the more than 100-strong field, with some highly competitive bunches going head to head over the entire distance.
Squance wasn't troubled by any of that, choosing a line close to shore for the opening leg and rounding the first mark clear of the field.
At the end, the teenager had a clear lead over Luke Kelly (21.05), Kaiori McGuinniety (21.26), Terry Bone (21.30), Josh Sheridan (22.05) Ben Van Dyke (22.07), Hamish Neill (22.24), Simon Kneebone (22.48) and Chris King (22.49).
Kerry Mathieson (23.00) rounded out the top ten, her win in the women's field lifting her to the top of the season points table.
Behind her, Christina Harris (23.51) clawed back another point on Jude Vincent (24.19), but will have to do the same again for the next two weeks in order to take second place on the overall table and win the F50-59 category.
Vincent holds the edge in both competitions and will come out on top if she can beat Harris one more time in the remainder of the season.
Georgie Trengrove (25.23) was the fourth woman to finish, easing her to the top of F16-19 and giving her the chance of a fourth placing in the overall standings when the season ends.Wendy Healey (25.27) was next, ahead of Janis Crampton (26.45). Healey will finish the season second in F40-49, while Crampton is the most consistent finisher in the competition, having taken third in F50-59 in every single race this season.
Crampton is a dominant performer in the national Ocean Swim Series in F55-59, but has the misfortune to be up against two of the top F50-54 swimmers in the country in the local competition, which spreads to ten-year age groups.
As usual, the season competition is most intense in the older age groups, where swimmers are more inclined to attend regularly, as opposed to the younger groups, where swimmers have other commitments and may swim less often, making comparisons more difficult.
Likely age group winners at this stage are; Gregoire Auphan (M30-39), Ruth Thomas (F30-39), Terry Bone (M40-49), Kerry Mathieson (F40-49), Hamish Neill (M50-59), Ben Van Dyke (M60-69), Margaret Johnston (F60-69) and Derek Eaton (M70-79), with the F50-59 between Harris and Vincent going right down to the wire.
In this week's short swim, Hannah Martin topped a field of just over 40 in a race over 450m to finish in 7min flat, just ahead of Nicholas Paulin (7.04) and Gemma Langley (7.21).
Those three spreadeagled the field with Mia Langley (8.25) finishing next, ahead of Emma Lynch (8.36), Connor Eden (8.39) and Hannah Bryant (8.58).