Big Tahuna Swim

Nelson swimmer Luke Kelly took away the overall title at the inaugural Interislander Big Tahuna, swum over 3km from Tahunanui Beach on Saturday.

Swimmers race to the water at the start of the 3km event at Tahunanui Beach on Saturday.
Credit Photo: Mark Tantrum

The win was Kelly's second in the national Ocean Swim series, putting him in a good position to take the overall title, depending on how he fares at the final swim in the series at Devonport in two weeks.

Swimming in a group of five for most of the triangular course, Kelly put in a surge with just over 500m to go to pull away and cross the line in 34 minutes 48 seconds, with a margin of eight seconds from the second and third placegetters. 

Luke Kelly of Nelson was first the finish in the 3km Interislander Big Tahuna swim on Saturday.
Credit Photo: Mark Tantrum

Alec Swan of Nelson was a further five seconds back, taking fourth place in 35min 1sec.

Bendi Kepess led the second bunch of finishers, running up the beach in sixth in 36min 35sec, while Hayden Squance recorded the same time to take seventh.

Fergus Drummond was also in this bunch, finishing in 36min 39sec for tenth.

Sierra Thomas (36.46) was the second woman to finish, crossing the line in 12th overall, ahead of Terry Bone (37.36).

When the 390 swimmers in the long event had finished, Nelson swimmers had nine gold, eight silver and seven bronze medals to their credit.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese praised the event as a perfect fit for Nelson's event strategy and race director Scott Rice announced an agreement with the council to continue for a further three years.
As well as the 3km event, swimmers raced over 1km, 500m and 200m distances. with a total of 537 finishers. 

Nelson age group gold medal winners included Luke Kelly (M20-24), Alec Swan (M12-14), Sierra Thomas (F12-14), Terry Bone (M45-49), Hamish Neill (M55-59), Ben Van Dyke (M65-69), Matt Newberry (M40-44), Kerry Mathieson (F50-54) and Derek Eaton (M75-79)
Silver medallists were Bendi Kepess (M15-19), Hayden Squance (M20-24), Jack Armstrong (M25-29), Andrew Martin (M55-59), Kirstin Ramsay (F35-39), Malcolm Anderson (M60-64), Stuart Hebberd (M70-74) and Maggy Johnston (F60-64).
Nelson bronze medallists: Fergus Drummond (M12-14), Angus Perham (M55-59), Jude Vincent (F55-59), Christina Harris (F50-54), Bill Revell (M60-64), Hannah Martin (F15-19) and Wendy Healey (F40-44).

For full results, see