Northern visitor outswims opponents to take ocean swim honours
A visitor from Ashburton travelled south to claim the honours in the revived PrimePort ocean swim on Saturday.
Steve Prescott headed home a quality field to win a race that took place last year for the first time in two decade.
The 2016 event attracted 37 swimmers across the 500-metre, 1.5-kilometre and 2.5km distances, while 2017 saw that number more than double.
"It was great we had 67 sign up and then about another dozen join the morning of the race to give us around 80 competitors," organiser Rob Naylor said.
READ MORE:* Ocean swim numbers nearly double 2016 event
The conditions were challenging but that was all part of the swim, he said.
"It was good. It was probably a bit choppier than last year but we're very happy with how the ocean swim went."
Naylor finished in the top 10 in the 2.5km race.
"I'm happy with that. I wasn't going to win it."
It was fantastic seeing a large number of competitors from out of town taking part, he said.
"That's what we want to see, is people coming to Timaru to give it a go."
Naylor said having double the number of contestants from the previous year was good for the event.
"It's great. It shows the interest is certainly there and hopefully we can continue to grow it each year."
Winner Prescott, who swam home in a time of 30 minutes, 46 seconds, about 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Marco Troiani, said it was nice to take line honours.
"I have never competed in the event down here before. I really enjoyed it and it was capped off nicely by me managing to win it in my first time giving it a crack."
He said the swim was a good challenge and the competition strong.
"I really enjoyed it. It was a tough course made difficult by the chop but it was good for the race.
"I found the swim near the rocks and round into the harbour really enjoyable. I had to work very hard to win."
Prescott said he'd hopefully return in 2018 to defend his title. He began ocean swimming some 30 years ago and loves the challenge of it.
"It's never the same. The ocean is always different. It was my first time down this way swimming and it was great."
Prescott said it was awesome seeing such a good turnout for the event.
The course started in Evans Bay and finished up in Caroline Bay, with alternative starting areas in place for the smaller races.
Naylor also thanked PrimePort for its help in organising the event and letting them use the bay as a finishing area.