The State Sand to Surf, the penultimate race in the New Zealand State Ocean Swim Series, took place at Mt Maunganui on Saturday 21 March.
In the women’s race, New Zealand World Championship team member Charlotte Webby and leading Australian open water swimmer Samantha Watts produced the closest finish in the series’ history. Webby pipped her rival by just one second at the finish line.
The two had been stroke for stroke for the entire race, with the race being decided by a sprint finish up the beach. Webby’s won in 31mins 58secs.
“I didn’t start running until literally the water had finished because I’m not very good at wading. But you just have to back yourself or you’re out of the race already,” said Webby.
In the men’s race, Kane Radford and Nathan Capp, who have each won one of the last two events, went head to head for the first time in the series this season.
Radford is the current holder of the New Zealand Open Water 10km Championships and Capp is the 1500-metres national record holder. Strong competition was also provided by State Ocean Swim Series leader Phillip Ryan.
The trio were swimming side by side as they rounded the last buoy. But as they closed in on the beach, Capp broke from his rivals and held on to beat Radford by seven seconds. Ryan was just two seconds behind in third. Capp’s winning time was 29mins 21secs.
“It’s always good to get a win over Kane, especially since he’s the top open water swimmer in New Zealand,” said Capp.
“I wanted to follow Kane for a while but he just ended up following me most of the way, so my plan didn’t really work but I came away with the win anyway so I’m happy.”
Webby and Ryan now lead the series, which will be decided in the double points round at the State King of the Bays next month.
More info: www.oceanswim.co.nz