Mon, Jan 10, 2022 9:43 AM

Christchurch sea swimmers take on the locals in Nelson

Hayden Squance, left, Louis Clark and Ben Isles took the podium spots in race eight of the Rylock series in Nelson. Photo: Kay Sneddon

Peter Gibbs

After weeks of rough seas and tough currents, Nelson swimmers faced a new threat on Thursday, out-of-town challengers.

Race eight of the Rylock Series brought calm seas and negligible currents, as well as a large contingent from AquaGym in Christchurch, in town for their annual training camp, along with sundry holidaymakers who fancied a race.

The longer option, of 1400m, was swum over a triangular course within Nelson Harbour.

From the start the pace was frantic as a group of three elbowed for position at the front of the field.

At the finish, just seconds separated the winner, Louis Clark, from Ben Isles and series leader Hayden Squance of Ruby Bay.

Clark, 20, from Christchurch, is an international water polo player, debuting for New Zealand in 2019.

With best times in the pool of 54.4 seconds for 100m and 26.26 for 50m, he proved hard to beat over the final sprint, taking the win from Isles, who also won the five km race in Nelson from Squance the previous Sunday.

Abbey Smale of Richmond kept local pride alive, last summer's national ocean swim champion winning the women’s section by a handy margin from fellow Nelson swimmers Sam Harman and Emily Chadderton.

Breaking the youth deadlock were Terry Bone, 49, who finished fifth overall, Matt Hansen, 44, 12th  and Hamish Neill, 58, the 13th swimmer to finish.

The short race of about 800m was loaded with AquaGym talent taking out the first six places.

Ollie Salt was the winner from Eli Wilson, followed by Tiago Chamberlain, the first woman, Skye Trist, Grace Henderson and Harry Renner.

Series leader Brianna Mackay finished next, in seventh place.

Competition continues with race nine of the 18-race Rylock Series on Thursday January 13.

Full results and information at nelsonseaswims.co.nz.