Oceans Swims take on Bean Rock



By Peter Gibbs

Brent Foster walked away with two gold medals from the Interislander Bean Rock swim on Saturday. One was for winning the race outright, the other for winning his M50-54 age group.


First male Brent Foster

Photos by Mark Tantrum

First Female Abbey Smale

It was an incredible feat for the double Commonwealth Games representative (1986 and 1990), considering he was up against the cream of New Zealand's new generation of teenage stars.


Series leader Abbey Smale continued her unbeaten run, which stretches back to the beginning of last season.


Nearly 600 swimmers lined up for the 3.2km swim to the lighthouse and back - a race which was organised by triathlete Haydn Woolley for nine years before Scott Rice picked it up for the Banana Boat series this season.


Teenagers Alex Dunkley and Nick Bone set off at an incredible pace from Mission Bay beach, taking Foster by surprise and leaving him in their wake. 


Smale went wide to the right, also losing touch with the lead bunch.


After the first kilometre, there had been a regrouping, with about six swimmers together at the front. As they approached the marker off Bean Rock, Foster made a break, opening up a gap on the younger swimmers.


On the homeward leg, Dunkley and Bone set off in pursuit, with Smale, and teenagers Daniel Shanahan and Jayden Collins in a chasing bunch.


The gap at the front narrowed over the last few hundred metres. Foster said he had to dig deep to hold them off and he crossed the line in 39min 23sec, with Dunkley and Collins evenly spaced at 13-second intervals for the minor places.


A minute went by before Shanahan hit the beach, narrowly heading off Collins and then Smale.


Rebecca Clarke and Ella Crowe got closer to Smale than anyone has managed so far this season, coming in together 40 seconds behind the Nelson swimmer.


Dave English, Ryan Barry and Mike Cochrane crossed the line first in the 1600m Half Bean, while Bianca Chan and Grace Crowe filled the next two places to lead the women's field.


Female swimmers dominated the 800m Quarter Bean, with Tessa Pemberton leading the field ahead of Annaliese Marie Zapata. Tyler Lushkott was next taking the male title, followed by Isabella Evans, Linda Liang and Tina Liang.


The next swim in the series is the Generation Homes Legend of the Lake in the Blue Lake at Rotorua on March 20.