NZ Open Water Swim Championships
Words - Peter Gibbs
Photos - Sportzhub
The country's best open water swimmers gathered in Taupo January 11, 12 for the New Zealand Open Water Swim Championships and the Epic swims.
The open water champs gave members of Swimming NZ the chance to gain national titles and also the chance to qualify for other events, including the FINA World Junior Open Water Championships, while the Epic swims attracted age group swimmers.
In the 10km Sebastian Priscott blitzed the field, the young Auckland swimmer ducking under the 2-hour mark to take gold more than three minutes ahead of Phoenix Douglas, swimming for the Capital Swim Club. Ashleigh Allred of Cambridge took out the women's race from Tauranga's Mia Pugh.
In the Epic 10km, Axel Wolfharth was even more dominant, the M40-49 age grouper stopping the clock 8 minutes ahead of the opposition. Emma Moore took out the top women's spot.
Axel further distinguished himself in the Epic 5km, with a much closer win over M20-29 swimmer Hayden Wilde.
Critical for 16-17-year-old qualification for the World champs, the 7.5km was dominated by Tasman swimmers, with Alec Swan, Bendi Kepess and Fergus Drummond taking out the top three male spots, while Abbey Smale won the women's section from Mt Maunganui's Naia Anderson with another Tasman swimmer, Sierra Thomas, in third.
Tasman continued to show their form in the 4 x 1km relays, winning three of the six categories for male, female and mixed teams.
The ultimate age group challenge was the Epic Epic, with swimmers aggregating their times over the 10km, 5km and 2.5km swims.
Axel Wolfarth took the title, completing the three swims in 3hr 56min 1sec, ahead of Donal Barry (M50-59, 4.08.46), Matthew Croft (M15-19, 4.16.45), Alex Boyd (M30-39, 4.17.47) and Terry Bone (M40-49, 4.20.33).
In the female Epic Epic, Camille Gulik (F30-39, 4.52.31) took the title from Jodie Lovell (F40-49, 4.54.52, Christina Harris (F50-59, 4.55.14), Sue Duffel (F550-59, 15.39)and Breanna Ward (F20-29, 5.21.47.
For full results from Taupo, click here.