By Peter Gibbs
Alec Swan dominated the Haulashore Circuit, race three of the Clements Endurance Swim Series on Sunday, setting a new record of 32min 19sec for the 2.8km course.
Race winner Alec Swan
Timed to minimise the current, the race started 30 minutes before high water, so swimmers faced the last vestiges of the incoming tide as they swam from the yacht club to the "dolphin" navigation marker and out through The Cut.
It was slack water as the field rounded the south end of the island, only to face the outgoing tide as they made their way north to the dolphin and back to the yacht club.
In the tenth year of the race, Alec cracked Hayden Squance's 2017 record and the perfect conditions opened the door for Oxford Bayley and Fergus Drummond to also dip under the record.
Terry Bone broke the teen stranglehold to take fourth place, ahead of Sierra Thomas, who broke Pip Dwyer's 2015 women's record.
First woman and new record holder, Sierra Thomas
Next was three-time winner Matt Hansen and last year's women's winner Christina Harris, who is in good shape as she prepares for her 23km swim from Australia's west coast through shark infested waters to Rottnest Island.
Back in the field, last year's winner Ben Marshall chose to swim without a wetsuit. He was challenged all the way by 59-year-old Christchurch swimmer Peter Johnson, also swimming without a wetsuit, the pair finishing eleventh and twelfth.
Only a second separated the pair at the finish.
In an upset in the senior ranks, 78-year-old Derek Eaton turned the tables on a younger Stuart Hebberd, who turned 72 earlier in the week, the pair finishing 23rd and 26th in the field of 67 swimmers.
Several swimmers achieved the goal of circumnavigating the island, an aspirational achievement for Erin O'Connor, Fiona Young, Paula Meer and Kevin Edgar
Twelve swimmers took on the short swim of about 900m to the dolphin and return. In an all-women podium, Lauren Penney won from Nicole Le Bas Thurlow, Lisa Stanley, Jenni Phillips and Kay Stansbury-Ward.
The final swim in the Clements series is the 3.8km Ironman Challenge from Tahuna Beach on March 1, a week out from the national Interislander Big Tahuna on March 7.
Swimming continues in the Port Nelson series each Thursday.
Full information and results, nelsonseaswims.co.nz.