On 19th April 2014, 63 swimmers entered the water in the inaugural Auckland 10km Marathon swim. Auckland Central Masters added the 10km swim to the series held in Auckland each year which includes the iconic Rangitoto swim across the Auckland Harbour.

Two days before the event was due, New Zealand was hit by cyclone Ita, and Auckland experience 120kph winds. The roads along the 10km course suffered severe damage with apartments flooded and sea walls smashed. There were photos of a paddle boarder on the road. The following 48 hours saw mostly wind and rain with brief periods of respite. During one of these respites on the Friday morning, a group doing the 10km took to the water for a wee dip, hoping the winds died over the next 24 hours.

Saturday morning, the winds were down to 12 kph from the north and forecast to swing to the west and lower to under 10kph. At the start, protected from the wind, registration took place as the 63 prepared to start at Glendowie boat club, as the flotilla of kayaks and safety craft gathered. Unfortunately a number of swimmers had hired kayaks from the local supplier who was late in delivering the kayaks and forced a wee delay in the start.

The swim started in an estuary two hours before high tide and swimmers had 2.5km to swim against the tidal flow before rounding the Achilles Point. It was suggested at the briefing that if you were offended at naked men, you should sight only towards Rangitoto Island rather than the shore as the swim went past Auckland’s nudist beach. This point was also the roughest, as swimmers entered the joining of two currents meeting and meeting the wind head on.

As the swim went toward the turnaround, the wind changed from the west which pitted wind against tide until the tide turned, but the promised dying winds didn’t eventuate.  The nice thing was that the reach from the turnaround to the finish was with the tide and wind, a nice 3.5km to finish.

Each swimmer was accompanied by a kayak for support and feeding. Three motor boats and four IRBs accompanied the group for safety, headed by Phillip Rush of Cook Strait and English Channel fame. A big thanks to the crew for their assistance. Fortunately, they were not busy, with only a couple of kayakers needing assistance after they tipped over.

All 63 swimmers finished, a real credit to them, their preparation and the safety team who worked hard to ensure all had a good event. Times were reflective of the conditions on the day. It was great to have some visitors from Australia in the event, including Nick McCouat, the current leader of the fine ocean swimmers tallies, and Kim Cook from NSW and Gail Cummings from Samoa. There were New Zealanders from most parts of the country.

Wetsuit               Lodi Raos Trophy  
Axel Wohlfarth      2:19:48    Dawn Walker    2:56:52
Alex Boyd    2:29:44    Racheal Lilly    2:59:14
Steve Rainbow    2:32:22    Holly Cassin    3:06:19
         
Newd      John White Trophy  
Dan Abel    2:44:20    Tessa Sherwen    3:15:45
Simon Olliver    2:49:14    Katrina Price    3:17:07
Tim Robinson    3:07:19    Susan Sherwen    3:17:26

Lodi Raos and John White are long time stalwarts of Auckland Central Masters and it is opportune to present these trophies in this new distance, which will be an annual event.

Wayne Annan

Results...

For complete results... click here

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