Sixteen swimmers from Nelson competed in the Capital Classic, race three of the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series in Wellington on Sunday. The strike rate was good, with the squad picking up four gold and two silver medals.
Rough conditions combined with the threat of rising winds caused a shortening of the course from 3.4km to 2km.
The first leg of 1km took swimmers from Frank Kitts Park towards the Point Jerningham lighthouse, turning right when level with the fountain in Oriental Bay, then right again past the fountain, with 682 age group and 17 elite competitors successfully reaching the finish on Freyberg Beach.
Luke Kelly was the first Nelson swimmer across the finish line in 24 minutes and 53 seconds, a time which would have placed him respectably within the elite field.
In age group competition, Kelly was 13th, placing 6th in the very fast M15-19 category.
At more than three times Kelly's age, Denis Cooper was the next from Nelson, finishing in 26min 28sec to take gold in M50-54.
Ben Van Dyke (27.08) was comfortable to take gold in M60-64.
Derek Eaton (29.51) continued his unbeaten run of recent years with gold in M70-74, a second ahead of Janis Crampton, whose efforts earned her silver in F55-59.
Stuart Hebberd isn't a regular in these swims, but his 31min 56sec swim earned him gold in M65-69. Peter Gibbs held off a squad of four others in the same age group to take silver in 33min 17sec.
Luke Kelly 24.42 13 (6th M15-19), Denis Cooper 26.28 46 (1st M50-54), Ben Van Dyke 27.08 63 (1st M60-64), Christina Harris 28.19 105 (F50-54), Malcolm Anderson 28.21 108 (4th M55-59), Barry Thomas 28.56 130 (10th M50-54), Derek Eaton 29.51 162 (1st M70-74), Janis Crampton 29.52 165 (2nd F55-59), Dick Bennison 30.14 176 (4th M6-65), Miriam Jones 31.46 224 (6th F45-49), Stuart Hebberd 31.56 232 (1st M65-69), Margaret Johnston 32.05 241 (5th F55-59), Peter Gibbs 33.17 286 (2nd M65-69), Digby Kynaston 33.30 298 (19th M55-59), Paul Fisher 33.36 305 (24th M45-49), Craig Welsh 38.07 487 (46th M45-49).
- The Nelson Mail