Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby were convincing winners of the Capital Classic ocean swim race in Wellington yesterday.
In choppy water but under brilliant sunny skies, Rotorua's Radford blasted out at the start of the 3.3km men's race to build a big lead and he was never headed.
"After kind of holding back a bit this year, I thought why not go hard from the start this time and see how it goes.
"It turned out great; it was my own race," Radford said.
He won by 53sec from Auckland's Phillip Ryan, with the Wellington pair of Ben Campbell MacDonald (1min 13sec) and Casey Glover (1min 46sec) the next two home.
Radford joins Australians Trent Grimsey and Ky Hurst as race winners so far in a six- race series.
Each swimmer's leading three efforts count towards the series, with double points on offer for the final race on April 6 - the King of the Bays in Auckland.
"If I can pick up one more win, it'll all come down to the King of the Bays.
"It's going to be an interesting series," Radford said.
Webby was a surprise winner in the women's race ahead of the more fancied Cara Baker.
After the pair swam together at the start, Webby, from Taranaki, moved into overdrive at the 1000m mark and won by just over a minute.
Wellington's Courtney Carson was third, 3min 24sec behind Webby.
Webby's victory was a boost after some disappointing results at the national championships a fortnight ago, which Baker dominated. "I was lacking confidence before going out, because my last two ocean water swims haven't been great," Webby said.
The women's series is now nicely set up - Webby has won two of the three races, and Baker one. The next race is La Grande Classic at Akaroa on February 23.
- The Dominion Post
How will the Hurricanes do in 2015?Related story: Supporting players light up Hurricanes bright start to Super Rugby season
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates