Port Nelson Sea Swims, Race 10, January 9, 2020

Featured photo: Training mates Sali Matthews and Stephen Neas finished a second apart in tonight’s swim.

Probably the nicest swim this summer. Pity it took until the tenth of 18 swims to get there. Most of our fast young swimmers have gone to  Lake Taupo for the Epic swims, so you’d expect the door to be wide open for some upsets. However, Luke Kelly, Oxford Bayley and Hayden Squance were leaning firmly on the door, shutting out the strong team from Aquagym in Linwood, Christchurch, who were holding their annual training camp here in Nelson and arrived in numbers. Aquagym swimmers also dominated the short course over about 500m.

In the long swim of 1250m, Louis Clark of Aquagym joined Luke, Hayden and Oxford in the lead bunch, heading into the current for a 600m slog south, before turning for a jet-propelled surge back to the yacht club ramp via the dolphin. Luke and Louis led at this point, but took divergent courses, Luke and Oxford coming together at the final offshore buoy.

Luke took it by a second from Oxford, Louis 26 seconds back with Hayden right on his heels. Kiri Atkin squeaked into the top ten to claim the first women’s spot ahead of Flossie Van Dyke and Christina Harris, who heads to Taupo in the morning for the Epic Epic – three swims back to back totalling 17.5km.

Aquagym swimmers dominated the short swim, although it was obvious they hadn’t listened closely to the briefing. The lead swimmers swam past the final buoy to a further marker and half the field followed them, but it didn’t affect the results, with Taylor Chamberlain, Ollie Lutton and Eli Wilson taking the first three spots ahead of Thomas McCallum and Victoria Ellis, the first female swimmer. Lily Hall , Emily Barron and Olivia Huata-Findlay were the next women to finish.

Here’s the times, click here

Photos by Sandra McGregor, click here

Points, click here.

The official story for the week will be amalgamated with a report on Sunday’s Eyebright Mile.

On Sunday it’s the 33rd Eyebright Mile – a 2km swim from the yacht club to the beach. The race starts at 11.55am – right on the high tide. The recognised record for the event of 24min 19sec was set two years ago by Hayden Squance (although there is a faster time from a couple of decades ago set on an outgoing tide). The fastest women’s time of 25.41 was set in the 2014-2015 season by Sam Winward.

You’ll need to sign in any time after 11am, but before 11.30am.

Fastest Eyebright Mile times over the years, click here

Note that in the last six years, Luke Kelly and Hayden Squance have won three times each – can one of them extend that record?