The GSS season is wrapping up. This weekend was the last race of the season in New Zealand and the 2nd last of the whole series. There were some crucial points up for grabs and more to be won next weekend at the Pacific Championships in Australia. The Auckland Marathon Swim was a great finale for an exciting year of swimming in New Zealand, giving swimmers a challenging 10km to compete in. The weather in Auckland during the week before the Marathon swim saw a cyclone come through and significant rains and flooding. Fortunately again the weather gods played their part and the day saw a gentle 10-15 knot North-westerly causing more issues for the kayaker than the swimmers.
At 8am 44 swimmers escorted by a similar number of kayakers set out from St Heliers Bay. They headed out to the leading light at the end of the harbour before turning back toward Auckland City, to a point off Mission Bay out to the iconic Bean Rock in the middle of Auckland Harbour. They then returned back to the shore and followed the Auckland Waterfront back to St Heliers. The tide sort of supported the slower swimmers, the course provided challenges with swimming into and across the breeze at various times, with the best legs back from Bean Rock and along the coast homeward.
This event is the only 10km event in New Zealand that is not laps (well only one lap). It is designed to give swimmers of every ability the opportunity to do a marathon swim with maximum safety support, with each swimmer having to be accompanied by a kayaker, and a group of lifeguards providing support in IRB’s and power boats supporting them. Everyone finished the event in the approx. 19-20 degree C water. It was a close tussle between the first two males 14 year old Trent Kamper in a wetsuit and 42 year old Dan Abel without a wetsuit. Dan is a well know swimmer and adventure swim organizer in New Zealand and can be found at http://fitandabel.com/. In the women’s race Rachel Lilly, from Wellington, took out the wetsuit division while first timer Payal Ramritu was first in the non-wetsuit division.
This is the last swim of the year in New Zealand for this summer, except for the World Masters Games on 30th April, so we will all be back in the pools soon to do our winter rests and build up for next summer while we watch those in the Northern Hemisphere go back into open water swimming events.
While the Auckland Marathon Swim was originally scheduled to be the final race of the GSS season, there’s still one more race to go! Next weekend the rescheduled GSS Pacific Championships at North Curl Curl Beach, Australia will close out the season! There’s even still time to register!