Port Nelson swim



In a tight battle, Hayden Squance turned the tables on Luke Kelly, winning Thursday's Port Nelson swim in testing conditions.
Conditions were testing, with 150 swimmers facing a strong incoming tide and choppy seas.
The long swim was contested over 1200m, with swimmers heading south against the current before turning out into the tide for the return journey to the Nelson Yacht Club ramp.
Hayden Squance turned the tables on Luke Kelly in the second race of the Port Nelson swim series on Thursday night. Photo: Janice Coyle
A small group chose to stay as close as possible to the shore, minimising the tidal flow, before swinging out to a moored yacht. The next challenge was to sight a buoy anchored 100m away, not so easy to see in the choppy conditions.
With the lead bunch slowing to make the sighting, Squance was the first to spot the buoy out of the corner of his eye, further south than expected.
With that slight advantage, Squance was able to round the buoy marginally ahead of Kelly and hold the advantage in the long tide-assisted slog to the finish, reaching the ramp in 12 minutes and 35 seconds, a second ahead of Kelly.
The following bunch was nearly a minute behind, with Bendi Kepess (13.24) and Josh Sheridan (13.27) repeating their placings from week one, ahead of Jacob Northage (13.31), leading 40-49 swimmer Terry Bone (13.32) and Alec Swan (13.48).
Sophie Alexander was next in 13min 52sec, the 14-year-old Waimea College student recording her first-ever win in the series, ahead of Ruby-Lou Stuart (14.28), Leah Friend (14.36), Christina Harris (14.39) and Flossie Van Dyke (14.44).
Harris continues to dominate F50-59, while Van Dyke won F20-29. Ben Van Dyke (15.06) asserted himself, winning M60-69 in his first swim of the season.
Hamish Neill seems to have a stranglehold on M50-59, winning that age group convincingly while taking ninth place overall.
Derek Eaton (16.44) was pushed harder than usual in M70-79 by debutante Stuart Hebberd (16.58), a new entrant to this lofty echelon, while Jill Bann (21.09) took her first-ever age group win in F60-69.
Yegor Jones continued to excel in the short race, completing the course of more than 500m in 8min 31sec, ahead of Mia Langley (9.38) who was the fastest woman for the second time this season.
Next to finish in the short event were Katie Jonas (10.05), Charlie Perkins (10.07), Hannah Hobbs (10.11), Alexandra Grenfell (10.12) and Hannah Bryant (10.22).
Many Nelson swimmers will travel to Auckland in the weekend for race one of the national Banana Boat Ocean Swim Series across Auckland Harbour. The series comes to Nelson on March 31 next year with the Interislander Big Tahuna event, expected to attract up to 800 swimmers from all over the country competing in a variety of distances to suit all abilities.
Full results and information about Port Nelson swims at nelsonseaswims.co.nz.