Competition tight in Nelson swims
By Peter Gibbs
Photos by Pete Marshall
Lorraine Mellors led in a tight group in Thursday's Port Nelson swim.
Ten-year-olds Rocco Ellena, Maicah Kalani and Nia Linyard were each separated by a second in the 700m race.
Hayden Squance and Abbey Smale won the male and female sections of last Thursday's Port Nelson Swim Series.
The course of just over 1500m had a bit of everything, with a slight chop, enough breeze to keep the surface stirred up and a tidy current to cope with on the final 500m leg of the triangular course.
Triathlete Squance led out on the first leg, building a body length over Oxford Bayley, Luke Kelly and Abbey Smale. These four have great credentials nationally, with Bayley and Smale leading the Banana Boat Ocean Swim series this season and Kelly a regular winner on the circuit in recent years, so any race in Nelson Harbour is ultra-competitive.
With 12 weeks of swimming done and only six more to go, positions are starting to shape up in the best-of-11 Port Nelson series.
Attention inevitably focuses on the leaders in the series, but back in the field the competition is intense between swimmers in the same age group and also across age groups as individual bragging rights become important.
In any race, most swimmers have the experience of recognising a pair of goggles, a particular swim suit or wetsuit and wanting more than anything to beat that person. That inevitably leads to lifted performances
Lorraine Mellors, four weeks out from her first Ironman, is hitting form at the right time, leading a large group of swimmers in midfield, including Eric Wylde, Victoria Charles Jarod Spencer, Brian McGurk and Paul Thornton, with only nine seconds separating the first and the last in this group. Similar tight groups race for home all through the field of more than 100 swimmers.
Emily Chadderton was first ashore in the 700m short swim, followed closely by Noah Brehaut.
In another tight competition, three 10-year-olds, Rocco Elleena, Maicah Kalani and Nia Linyard stepped ashore in the space of three seconds.
Swimming continues in the Port Nelson Series for another six weeks, with race three in the Clements Endurance Series taking place on Sunday. The Clements Challenge takes competitors out through the Cut on an incoming tide before they continue to Tahuna Beach, a total distance of almost 3km.
Information and results, nelsonseaswims.co.nz.