Fri, Nov 19, 2021 2:15 PM

Sea swim season gets underway

Emily Chadderton was a clear winner of the women’s section in her first season of competing in the longer races. Photo: Jacqui Old

Peter Gibbs

Hayden Squance and Emily Chadderton were the winners of the long race option as the sea swim season began in Nelson last week.

Keisha Old and Dylan Bell were the female and male winners of the shorter race.

The Rylock Swim Series launched on Thursday from the Nelson Yacht Club, with 131 swimmers talking on courses of 750m or 400m.

Formerly known as the Port Nelson series, Rylock took over the naming rights after a bid from swimmer Stephen Clements of Clements Windows and Doors, a long-time supporter of swimming through the Clements Endurance Series, which also continues under the Rylock name.

Port Nelson remains as a major sponsor of the series.

Club president Dick Bennison welcomed swimmers to the new season, running under strict Covid protocols, with competitors split into two separate bubbles prior to the start and spectators excluded from the swim area.

It’s Dick’s ninth season running the event, the fifteenth year since the Nelson Triathlon Club took over from Peter Owen of Eyebright, who previously ran the series for 20 years.

Series sponsor Stephen Clements, right, exits the water with training mate Roger Matheson. Photo: Jacqui Old
Series sponsor Stephen Clements, right, exits the water with training mate Roger Matheson. Photo: Jacqui Old

Competitors faced a 300m leg against the incoming tide, then swimming across to a mark and returning with the current, although an opposing wind kicked up a small chop on this section.

Hayden was untroubled from the start, opening up a lead and finishing nearly a minute ahead of Terry Bone (49) and Hamish Neill (58), two of the top age group swimmers in the country.

Swimming bishop Derek Eaton hasn’t let age slow him down, the 80-year-old finishing 34th of the 105 starters in the long race.

Emily (14) was the winner of the short series last year and wasted no time in staking her claim as a force to be reckoned with, hitting the shore half a minute ahead of Lucy Barron (29) and Christina Harris (58).

Keisha Old was a revelation in the short race, the nine-year-old taking the win by 10 seconds from Keshia Linyard, Brianna Mckay and Alexis Sandall.

Dylan Bell was the first male to finish, ahead of Ollie Rooney and 55-year-old Mark Corlet, making a comeback after a few years off.

The 18-race series continues each Thursday through to mid-March. Results and information at nelsonseaswims.co.nz.

Event organiser and club president Dick Bennison made an impressive start to the season. Photo: Jacqui Old
Event organiser and club president Dick Bennison made an impressive start to the season. Photo: Jacqui Old