One of the lowest turnouts from Nelson swimmers for a few seasons, with seven taking part in the Generation Homes Swim the Mount over 2.8km on Saturday
A more local story:
Swimmers face blue skies and rough seas
By Peter Gibbs
It wasn’t all plain sailing for seven Nelson swimmers who took on race six of the national Banana Boat Ocean Swim Series at Mt Maunganui last Saturday.
With the young Nelson stars otherwise occupied in the pool, it was left to the old brigade to represent the region and it was the oldest of them all, Derek Eaton (79) who picked up the solitary medal for the group, who were more Dad’s Army than honed young athletes.
Starting down the beach towards Papamoa, swimmers faced a 1km slog through the surf to the first buoy at the side of Rabbit Island (no relation to the Nelson version).
After the surf, things got rougher and although the buoys were only 200m apart at this stage, many swimmers went wide, unable to sight in the rough seas.
From there, it got calmer around the tip of the Leisure Island peninsula and in to the main beach, which disappointingly was too sheltered from the breeze to offer up any assistance by way of breaking waves over the final approach to the beach.
Jon Linyard was the first of the Nelson brigade to finish, the Tasman school teacher finishing fifth in his M45-49 age group.
Bishop Derek was next, the Nelson cleric redeeming himself after a couple of recent runner-up finishes.
Nelson Triathlon Club president Dick Bennison leads the M65-69 age group in the series, but after a couple of weeks off training found himself in fifth place in his age group.
Councillor Brian McGurk left behind his Nelson civic duties, but was happy to finish in less than an hour.
The final race in the Banana Boat Series is Swim the Bridge, the double harbour crossing in Auckland.
At that race, Richmond swimmer Abbey Smale will claim her national title and Nelson’s Oxford Bayley will endeavour to take the national men’s title against some very talented swimmers.