Eyebright Mile swim
Photos - by Eileen Kelly
Top photo Jude Vincent & Angus Perham
By Peter Gibbs
Records were out of the question as 111 swimmers took on the roughest Eyebright Mile swim in the past 30 years on Sunday.
Only 90 people made the full trip from the Nelson Yacht Club to Tahuna Beach, with the rest opting out at the start, scrambling into the support boats or missing the safety cutoff time.
Luke Kelly and Hayden Squance have won the last five Eyebright Mile swims, and the pair set off at the head of the field with the usual train of teen swimmers close behind.
Over the final stretch from Magazine Point the leaders spread out, with Kelly first to his feet in the run to the finish line.
The winning time of 28 minutes and 39 seconds was well outside the fastest for the event, set by Squance last year, but it was a strong performance over the 2km course.
The win brings Kelly's total of wins to three, matching Squance's run of winning performances.
Bendi Kepess (28.42) was second, three seconds behind the winner, with Alec Swan (28.50), Squance (29.20) and Fergus Drummond (29.33) making up the top five.
Abbey Smale (29.44) and Sophie Alexander (30.30) finished next, with last year's women's winner Sierra Thomas cruising to finish 14th in 35min 58sec.
Jack Armstrong (34.11) was the quickest of the non-wetsuit swimmers, while Lisa Gant (48.12) was the first female non-wetsuit swimmer.
In the age groups, Ben Marshall (31,16) comfortably took out M30-39, finishing eighth overall.
Blenheim swimmer Paul Sell (33.23) was too quick for Matthew Hansen (33.50) in M40-49, while Chris Vincent (35.35) took the top spot in M50-59, followed by Denis Cooper (36.13) and Barry Thomas (38.19).
Christina Harris (36.46) and Jude Vincent (39.55) dominated F50-59, ahead of F40-49 swimmers Wendy Healey (41.52) and Renee Hunt (42.45).
Ben Van Dyke (38.07) had a tough battle to stay ahead of Malcolm Anderson (38.10) in M60-69, while Janis Crampton (39.10) had the edge over Maggy Johnston (43.58) in F60-69.
Stuart Hebberd (41.02) continued his dominance in M70-79 over Derek Eaton (41.58), while Kerry Bateman was unchallenged in the M80+ section, finishing in 1hr 16min.
Fifteen swimmers signed up for the short swim of 1300m from the Richardson St Steps, but only five made it to the finish line at the beach.
Natasha Buckley (34.30) was first to finish, ahead of Stephen Neas (37.48), taking part in his first ever ocean swim race.
Full results at nelsonseaswims.co.nz.