Final Nelson Swim


Conditions for the final competition swim in the Port Nelson series were perfect, as 108 swimmers enjoyed calm seas and very little current.

Tight finish: The top three swimmers were each separated by one second, with Luke Kelly wining from Bendi Kepess and Hayden Squance. Photo: Janice Coyle.

After two cancellations, numbers have been down by about a third in recent weeks, but the season concluded with an average of 140 swimmers having taken part over the 16 swims that went ahead.

In the long swim of just over 1500m a lead group stuck closely together, with Luke Kelly surging ahead to win in 16 minutes 25 seconds, from Bendi Kepess ((16.26) and Hayden Squance (16.27).

Sierra Thomas finished the season with an unbeaten record as she led home the women's field in 16min 47sec, ahead of Abbey Smale (18.22), Zara Aydon (18.53) and Flossie Van Dyke (18.59).

Swimmers in the short course covered about 600m, with Connor Eden (7.57) taking first place ahead of Mia Langley (8.15), Clark Ambrose (8.29), Brooke Swan (8.37) and Gemma Langley (8.48).

On March 17, swimmers line up for a relay, followed by the annual prizegiving, where Luke Kelly and Sierra Thomas will receive the Port Nelson trophies for the top swimmers.

Steve Malthus slipped into the lead on the final race to take the non-wetsuit prize for men from Mark Hebberd, while Lisa Gant narrowly held on from Cheryl De Lange for the women's non-wetsuit prize.
With 10 points each week  going to the top swimmer in each age group and season winners decided on the best of 11 swims, several age group winners managed a maximum of 110 points.

These included Bendi Kepess (U16 men), Sierra Thomas (U16 women), Luke Kelly (M20-29), Flossie Van Dyke (F20-29), Terry Bone (M40-49), Hamish Neill (M50-59), Christina Harris (F50-59), Ben Van Dyke (M60-69), Maggy Johnston (F60-69) and Stuart Hebberd (M70+).

The annual Haulashore Circuit, a race of 2.8km, takes place on Sunday March 18, while swimmers from all around the country will gather for the Interislander Big Tahuna on March 31. Up to 800 swimmers are expected to compete in distance from 200m to 3km.

Full information and results at