Bendi Kepess unleashed a withering sprint over the last 30 metres to overhaul Luke Kelly and take line honours in Thursday's Port Nelson Sea Swim.
Competitors faced a 1500m course over fairly lumpy seas and including a tricky section into the setting sun where the mark was hard to spot against the trees of Haulashore Island.
Edward Swain, 13, won the short course event in his first swim of the year.
Photos: Pete Marshall
Flossie Van Dyke edged out Christina harris by a second in Thursday's Port Nelson swim.
Terry Bone continued his domination of the M40-49 section.
Bendi and Luke were joined by Oxford Bayley in a lead bunch over the roughly rectangular course and these three were clear at the finish, with Hayden Squance, Abbey Smale and Terry Bone taking the next three places.
Abbey faces a busy weekend, with a training camp in Auckland on Saturday before a late flight to Wellington for the Banana Boat Capital Classic over 3.3km on Sunday. The 16-year-old Richmond student is favourite for the Wellington race after winning race one of the series in Auckland in December.
Terry will be among the favourites in Wellington in his M45-49 age group.
Sierra Thomas was the second woman to finish on Thursday, ahead of Hamish Neill, Flossie Van Dyke, Christina Harris and Ben Van Dyke.
Last year's Banana Boat overall women's winner, Sierra is also predicted to be in both age group and overall medals in Wellington, as will Hamish (M55-59), Christina (F55-59) and Ben (M65-69).
Last year 30 Nelson swimmers took on the Wellington course, with a similar number expected this year.
In the short swim over 450m, 13-year-old Edward Swain grabbed a clear win in his inaugural swim of the season ahead of Corey Tremblay, Eva Ellena and Mia Langley.