English Channel record holder Trent Grimsey has won the opening round of the New Zealand ocean swim series.
The 24-year-old Queenslander blitzed the field in the 3.3km race from Russell to Paihia, winning in a time of 40:34.
Grimsey was exactly one minute ahead of New Zealand's leading hope and the defending series champion Kane Radford, who finished just ahead of Auckland's Phillip Ryan, and Grimsey's younger brother Codie.
Trent Grimsey started strongly, quickly going to the front. Fifty metres ahead at the one kilometre mark he doubled his lead over the next 1000m.
"This was the first time I'd swum in a wetsuit since last year, so that took about 200 metres to get used to, but after that I felt really good" Grimsey said.
Grimsey's win continues an outstanding year. In September, he shaved two minutes off the record for the English Channel, recording a time of 6 hours and 55 minutes.
He also won this year's FINA open water swimming grand prix circuit, is a three-time Australian open water champion and is the current New Zealand open water 10km marathon champion.
In the women's race, New Plymouth's Charlotte Webby was even more dominant. She won by over two and a half minutes, ahead of 17-year-old Aucklander Kirsty Wannan.
But despite her win, Webby says could've gone better.
"My goggles kept fogging up today, which wasn't ideal. But in a way I'm pleased these kind of issues came out today, so I can sort them out ahead of other five races in the series," she said.
Both Webby and Grimsey earn 100 series points for their wins, as they chase the $20,000 prize for the series overall.
The other rounds include Auckland's iconic harbour crossing next month.
Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?