Kelly in control in Haulashore circuit
Conditions were perfect for the final sea swim of the summer on Sunday.
The 2.8km Haulashore Circuit takes swimmers from the Nelson Yacht Club heading out through The Cut, around the southern tip of Haulashore Island, then back to the start point.
As 60 swimmers streamed out through The Cut, a startled seal watched from the rock wall, perhaps bemused by these noisy intruders who had frightened her breakfast.
Luke Kelly led from Jody Keefe-Laing and Simon Kneebone as the lead bunch headed south round the back of the island, but gave the others a sniff of success as he stopped to adjust his goggles.
It was a false hope, as the 16-year-old quickly regained the lead and edged ahead for a comfortable victory in 36min 28sec, with a gap of 20 metres to Keefe-Laing (36.46) and Kneebone (36.48).
Ben Van Dyke doesn't let age hold him back, the 63-year-old finishing in 38min 55sec to narrowly head off 15-year-old Pip Dwyer (38.58).
Matt Newberry (39.08), Christchurch swimmer Peter Johnson (39.22), Chris Vincent (40.23), Kerry Mathieson (40.52) and Christina Harris (41.16) brought up the top ten.
There was plenty of competition in the age groups, with Newberry (30-39), Kneebone (40-49), Johnson (50-59), Van Dyke (60-69) and Derek Eaton (70+) taking out their respective sections.
Megan Falloon (20-29), Sari Golding (30-39), Mathieson (40-49) and Harris (50-59) were the women's age group winners
A shorter option of 900m took swimmers out to the "dolphin" navigation marker and back.
Kayak specialist Andrew Martin put his stamp on the race from the start, coming ashore at the yacht club ramp in 15min 20sec, to win from Daniel Dwyer (16.02), Adam Beaudoin (17.45), Roger Matheson (18.09) and Colin Wragg (19.16).
Martin's daughter Hannah, was the first woman, finishing in 24min 34sec.
Full results, nelsonseaswims.co.nz