Nelson Sea swim


By Peter Gibbs
The conditions seem to get better each week of the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series. In Thursday's races, 149 competitors completed triangular courses of 1250m or 500m.
Flossie Van Dyke and Andrew Martin were separated by seconds in Thursday's Port Nelson Sea Swim.

Photo Sandra McGregor

Most of the fast young swimmers had gone to Lake Taupo for the New Zealand Open Water Championships, so you’d expect the door to be wide open for some upsets. However, Luke Kelly, Oxford Bayley and Hayden Squance were leaning firmly on the door in the long race, shutting out the strong team from Aquagym in Linwood, Christchurch, who were holding their annual training camp here in Nelson and arrived in numbers. Aquagym swimmers also dominated the short course over about 500m.

In the long swim of 1250m, Louis Clark of Aquagym joined Luke, Hayden and Oxford in the lead bunch, heading into the current for a 600m slog south, before turning for a tide-propelled surge back to the yacht club ramp via the dolphin. Luke and Louis led at this point, but took divergent courses, Luke and Oxford coming together at the final offshore buoy.

Luke took it by a second from Oxford, with Louis 26 seconds back and Hayden right on his heels. Aquagym's Kiri Atkin squeaked into the top ten to claim the first women’s spot ahead of Flossie Van Dyke and Christina Harris, who headed to Taupo in the morning New Zealand Open Water Swim Championships.

Race winner Luke Kelly, right, and third placed swimmer Louis Clark from Aquaswim in Christchurch do a quick debrief after the race.

Photo Sandra McGregor

Aquagym swimmers dominated the short swim, although it was obvious they hadn’t listened closely to the briefing. The lead swimmers swam past the final buoy to a further marker and half the field followed them, but it didn’t affect the results, with Taylor Chamberlain, Ollie Lutton and Eli Wilson taking the first three spots ahead of Thomas McCallum and Victoria Ellis, the first female swimmer. Lily Hall , Emily Barron and Olivia Huata-Findlay were the next women to finish.

In Taupo, Tasman club swimmers showed why the local sea swim series is the toughest in the country, with Alec Swan, Bendi Kepess and Fergus Drummond taking the top three spots in the 7.5km swim and Abbey Smale, Sierra Thomas and Sophie Alexander placing first, third and sixth in the women's section.

Photo Sortzhub - Steve Vk

Other races were littered with Tasman successes, including Isabella Thurlow's second place in F15-17 in the 2.5km championship.

In the Open Epic Epic, Terry Bone and Christina Harris distinguished themselves in a select field, racing over 10km, 5km and 2.5km, with Terry fifth overall and Christina third woman, as she prepares for her February assault on the 22km Rottnest Island swim in shark-infested waters off the coast of Western Australia.

Sunday's 33rd annual Eyebright Mile was cancelled in the face of storm-force winds and huge seas.

Full swim details at