The Tasman Swim Club's open water squad at the Nelson Yacht Club before last Thursday's Port Nelson Sea Swim. Photo: Andy Adair.

Change of scenery for pool swimmers


It was a long day for coach Andy Adair’s young open water swimmers last Thursday.

The 21-swimmer squad had already completed their regular two hour, 7km session in the Richmond Aquatic Centre in the morning before arriving at the Nelson Yacht Club later in the day for the opening round of the Port Nelson Sea Swim series.

Then, after completing a 650m swim in rough conditions, some of the squad warmed down with a 2km swim from the Nelson Yacht Club to Tahunanui Beach.

Andy says the swimmers are preparing for the New Zealand Open Water champs and Epic Open Water Swims to be held in Lake Taupo on January 14-15.

The squad’s open water specialists like Talya Harwood will be lining up in the national champs while the pool swimmers, including Sam McKenzie, will be competing in the Epic Swims which range in distance from 800m to 1000m.

Andy says open water swimming requires an additional set of skills. Swimming in a straight line is often difficult while contending with waves, tides and limited visibility can be challenging.

“They need to get some experience in open water before we go to Taupo, so that’s why we are doing the Port Nelson swims,” Andy says. “They are all very accomplished swimmers but open water is very different from the pool.

“There’s no black line to follow and there’s the sea conditions to contend with.”

One hundred and forty-eight swimmers competed in the opening round of the Port Nelson Sea Swim series, which continues every Thursday for the next 18 weeks.