That was a real ripper. It was one of those nights when the swim could have been cancelled and many would have heaved a sigh of relief. The compromise was to hold the races of shortened courses – a decision most people were happy with.
At 5pm, the tide had just turned. Low tide had passed and the current from the south was slight, but building. The wind could be described as boisterous and like most boys showed no sign of calming down. By the time we were stood in the water at 6.15pm waiting for the hooter, it was positively masculine and seemed to be picking up every second.
Leg one, nearly 300m south to the rusty boat, was a challenge, with waves slapping and current pushing. Hayden Squance led the field, but a squad of chasers was nipping at his heels.
The second leg, west across to a catamaran, seemed short, but the current was pushing swimmers to the right, so there was no time to relax.
Leg three happened in a flash. As the leaders rounded the final boat, Oxford Bayley made a move, closing in on Hayden.
As they reached the shore, it was a timekeepers nightmare that could have gone either way. Oxford got the nod from Hayden by a fraction of a second, with Luke Kelly nine seconds back, followed by the first woman, Abbey Smale.
There were no surprises in the procession that followed – Terry Bone in fifth, followed by Ben Marshall, unbeaten M50-59 leader Hamish Neill, Haydn Lockie, Matt Hansen, the legendary 70-year-old Ben Van Dyke and the second woman, F50-59 series leader Christina Harris.
Scrolling on through, in 12th was coach Jon Linyard, Rob Sheridan, third woman (and first non-wetsuit swimmer) Laura Keown and Auckland swimmer Dawn Dooley.
In the short swim, the consistent series swimmers dominated, with Noah Brehaut taking it by the narrowest of margins (officially 0.8 seconds) from Emily Chadderton. Lilly Claridge, Lucas Bell, Marcel Kepess, Nico Bosman and Jacqui Maitland were next in what if becoming a tight competition.
Here’s the points (for questions or corrections regarding points, contact Peter Gibbs – firstname.lastname@example.org)