Five years after the deadly earthquake that rocked Christchurch on 22 February 2011, the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series returned to the city after four years in the alternative location of Akaroa. Even organiser Scott Rice declared the return a success with more than 720 registered swimmers and some fast times registered due to perfect conditions and a little tidal assistance.
Nathan Capp and Stefannie Gillespie won the 3.3km swim in 33.54 minutes and 37.24 minutes respectively.
“Well done to Nathan and Stefannie on their wins today,” says Rice. “Both swimmers are known for their prowess in the water with Nathan having taken out the top spot in our series last year. Nathan, who is a multi New Zealand record holder, took a commanding lead right from the start and won the swim convincingly. Stefannie, who is a Christchurch local, was also favourite as she won the Akaroa swim last year, making her a back to back champion. Both swimmers are serious contenders and I’m sure we will only see more of their success as the series goes on.”
Other top performers in the 3.3km ‘I’m Going Long’ swim included Liam Thomson, Angus Syme, Sammy Winward and Samantha Harnett, who finished second and third in their male and female age groups, respectively.
The newly named Christchurch Crown signals a return home to Corsair Bay for this popular South Island event. This event was the fourth in the annual series of seven events, which caters for swimmers of all skill sets and offers an opportunity for recreational swimmers to take the plunge with some top name swimming elites.
The tenth season of the NZ Ocean Swim Series will also see the debut of another event; the Legend of the Lake swim (which takes place in Rotorua on the 28 of February). Remaining events also include fan-favourites; the Sand to Surf (Mt Maunganui) and the King of the Bays (Auckland).
For more information visit www.oceanswim.co.nz