Sunscreen and sunhats were in demand at the Swimming Nelson Marlborough Country and Town meet on Saturday, and it wasn't just the weather that was sizzling as spectators were treated to an outstanding day of competition.
Eighty-seven competitors from around the region and as far away as Christchurch and Westport competed for age-group and club honours at Hampden St pool.
The Country and Town meet recognises the region's country clubs, with trophies for top country club and top country club swimmer. Medals are also awarded in each age group to the top three country club swimmers as well as the top three swimmers overall, and in a few instances both medals went to the same swimmer.
Charlie Thain of Motueka Swimming Club won the Life Members' Cup for top country club swimmer, winning all eight events that she entered and notching up seven personal bests. This secured her a double gold for top overall 11-12-year-old girl as well as top country club swimmer in her age group.
Motueka's Daniel Trevurza also won double gold for top overall and top country and swimmer for 11-12-year-old boys.
Completing the swimming trifecta for Motueka, Joshua Aymes, was a convincing double gold winner in the 10-and-under boys' category.
However, the meet did not go all Motueka's way. Waimea Swim Club put in many strong performances to claim the Crest Cup for top country club, just pipping Motueka who had won it the previous five years.
The 10-and-under girls' age group was the most closely contested. Only five points separated the top three swimmers, as Tara Hagan from Tasman Swim Club took the gold medal ahead of Georgia Reed from Blenheim and Caitlyn Huhu of Nelson South.
Waimea's Sophie Lovell won gold for top country swimmer, Abby Smale from Motueka took the silver and Sapphire Kyles from Waimea the bronze.
In the 10-and-under boys, Alec Swan of Tasman Club was second overall behind Joshua Amyes. Nick Lovell of Waimea was third overall and second of the country swimmers. Waimea's Ruby-Lou Stuart won overall second and country second in the girls' 11-12 years division behind Charlie Thain.
The minor placings in the 11-12-year old boys' went to Tasman's Kaleb Johnston and Blenheim's Connor Reed, who were second and third overall, respectively. The Golden Bay duo of Fin Lewis and Tomo Clere placed second and third for the country club swimmers.
Clara Foster of Nelson South took out top honours for the girls' 13-14 years age group with seven wins from seven events. Annaliese Raemaki and Lucy Kerry, both from Blenheim, took second and third places respectively. For the country swimmers, Waimea Club scooped the medals with Tayla Graham first, Emma Lovell second and Jasmine Hollis third.
Nelson South's Matai McGuinniety easily won the 13-14-year boys' division, with David Price and Flynn McCann from Tasman Club winning the silver and bronze medals. There were no country swimmers in this age group.
In the 15-and-over category, Sally McMath, of Blenheim, took overall honours with Kirsten Walker of Motueka second overall and gold for top country swimmer. Charlotte Handforth of Nelson South won the bronze overall medal, while Libby Malthus and Zoe Hunt from Waimea Club rounded out the placings for the country swimmers.
Luke Kelly of Nelson South convincingly won the 15-and-over boys' category from Eddie Neill of Nelson South and Nathan Limmer of Waimea Club. Nathan was also the top country swimmer in this age group, beating his older brother who had to settle for silver.
Eddie Neill continued his record-breaking ways with the day's only regional record, setting a new benchmark for 16-year-olds in the 200m backstroke.
Many of the region's swimmers are heading to Wellington next week to test themselves against some of New Zealand's top clubs as they move into the main competitive season.
The town clubs will get their chance at top honours at the Swimming Nelson Marlborough age group championships in Blenheim on February 1-2..
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