Port Nelson Swim


Bendi Kepess took another narrow victory over Luke Kelly in race 14 of the Port Nelson Sea Swim Series last Thursday.

The international yachting regatta at the Nelson Yacht Club caused a change of venue for the swim to the Marine Rescue Centre. The extreme low tide right on start time made it difficult to enter and leave the water, but competition was even tighter than usual.

Ben Marshall is on top of the points table in M30-39 in the Port Nelson Sea Swims Series. Photo Sandra McGregor.

Watched by the race judge Gillian Watson, Stuart Hebberd, right, narrowly won the M70-79 section in a sprint from Francis Clark. Photo Sandra McGregor

Christina Harris is unbeaten this year in the F50-59 division. Photo Sandra McGregor
By Peter Gibbs

On the first leg of the 1500m course, a large bunch formed at the head of the field, with veteran swimmers like Ben Van Dyke, 68, and Chris Vincent, 54, going head to head and at times leading the younger stars of this year's competition.

At the first turn after 700m, conditions became more choppy and the field started to spread on the 150m leg to the dolphin navigation marker.

With the low tide, the dolphin was displaying some nasty sharp growths and barnacles, so a bit of caution was needed and that was the chance for Kepess and Kelly to start open up a gap.

Rounding the final offshore marker, Kepess had the edge and with two sprinters of equal ability giving it all they had there was no prospect of Kelly bridging the gap.

Kepess stopped the clock at 18 minutes flat, with Kelly (18.02) right on his heels. 

The normal teen bloc came in next, with Fergus Drummond (18.08), Alec Swan (18.10) and Oxford Bayley (18.13) touching down ahead of the first woman, Abbey Smale (18.17).

Josh Sheridan (18.21) led M30-39 swimmer Ben Marshall (18.38) ahead of second woman Sierra Thomas (19.17), M50-59 leader Hamish Neill (19.36) and third woman Sophie Alexander (19.42).

With series results taken on the best 12 of each competitor's results, many are looking unbeatable, including Marshall and Neill, who have M30-39 and M50-59 wrapped up, as does Stuart Hebberd, who had to beat off a determined challenge from Francis Clark in the M70-79 division last week.

Christina Harris (F50-59) also has a flawless record with 14 age division wins from 14 starts, coming in 24th overall, ahead of 28th placed Jude Vincent.

In last week's short swim over 500m, Tom Perkins (8.26) coasted home ahead of Mia Langley (8.54) as many swimmers missed the final mark and had to perform a frantic dogleg to avoid disqualification. 

Jessica Gallagher (9.00) took third, ahead of Sophia Molnar (9.02)and Corey Tremblay (9.03).
Swimming continues in the Port Nelson series on Thursday, with many swimmers focused on race five of the national Banana Boat Series, The Interislander Big Tahuna, at Tahuna Beach on Saturday.
Information and results at nelsontriclub.co.nz.