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Team oceanswims.com at the 5 Bridges River Swim in Hamilton - Jenny Stark, Brent Foster, Andrew Stevens, and Bruce Smith.

Foster wins fos series NZ

Brent Foster has won the fine ocean swimmers series NZ after finishing the series as he started it: by coming 2nd in Auckland to Phillip Ryan. Way back on December 13, Foster ran 2nd to Ryan at the Auckland City Masters Bays Swim. In Auckland on April 10, he ran 2nd to Ryan at the ACM Rangitoto Swim. Ryan scored 100 fine ocean swimmers series points each time. But they are the only series swims he did, so while he finished on 200 points from two swims, he was in the end almost 400 points behind Foster, and failed to qualify by not completing four of the series' six swims.

Foster beat last year's finest ocean swimmer, Bruce Smith, into 2nd place. It's another outstanding performance by Smith, in his 7th decade, while Foster is in his 5th.

Foster now gets the choice of one of two travel packages - to Vanuatu for Espiritu Santo Swim Week in May-June, or the Mana Fiji SwimFest in October. The travel package that Foster does not take will then go to a draw of the remaining qualifying swimmers.

The event program was -

  1. Bays Swim, Auckland Harbour (Auckland Central Masters), Sunday, December 13 (2.4km swim)... $A50 budgysmuggler.com.au voucher - Shannon Holroyd
  2. Red Beach Swim, Sunday, February 27 (3km swim only)... budgysmuggler.com.au voucher - Carmel Dickson
  3. Cathedral Cove Swim, Ha Hei, Saturday, March 5... budgysmuggler.com.au voucher - Matthew McQueen
  4. Rotorua Lake Okataina Swim, Sunday,March 13... budgysmuggler.com.au voucher - Kerry McComick
  5. 5 Bridges Swim, Hamilton, Sunday, March 20, 7.1km (effectively 3km with current) - budgysmuggler winner unknown
  6. Rangitoto Swim, Auckland, Sunday, April 10, 4.6km... budgysmuggler.com.au voucher - Trudi Wood

Final points

At the end of six rounds, there were 13 swimmers who qualified for the series by virtue of having done at least four of the series six swims. Here is the finishing order -

  1. Brent Foster, 578.29 pts, 6 swims
  2. Bruce Smith, 563.85, 6
  3. Pauline Mills, 439.01, 6
  4. Paulette Tasker, 399.92, 5
  5. Kathie Stobbs, 392.29, 5
  6. Gary Seaman, 366.08, 5
  7. Liz Calvert, 351.65, 4
  8. Stefanie Maslek, 323.76, 4
  9. Harriet Lamb, 323.41, 4
  10. Andrew Cave, 322.62, 4
  11. Roger Christensen, 295.5, 4
  12. Robina Hewlett, 285.79, 4
  13. Roger Soulsby, 267.44, 4

For final points after Round 6, Rangitoto... Click here


  • budgeysmugglerlogo150A trip to Vanuatu to take part in Espiritu Santo Swim Week in May-June 2016 (courtesy local resorts and oceanswims.com)
    • 6 nights accommodation in Santo
    • Entry to Espiritu Santo Swim Week
    • Airport transfers in Santo
    • Airfares Auckland-Santo return (winner is responsible for 3rd party taxes and charges)
  • A trip to Fiji to take part in the Mana Fiji SwimFest in October 2016 (courtesy Mana Island Resort and oceanswims.com)

How the fine ocean swimmers series NZ works

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The series uses the oceanswims.com handicap system, with each swimmer's time being weighted for age and sex to produced handicap results. It makes it possible for swimmers of all ages and both sexes to compete validly with each other. It’s not just for “the usual suspects”.


fos nz 1516 bannerThe series provides structure and direction to the open water and ocean season in New Zealand, promotes the sport generally, encourages swimmers to do more swims, particularly swims outside major population centres, and allows all swimmers to compete on level terms. Swims in the series have been selected for their chronological spread throughout the season, their geographical spread (initially in the upper North Island, eventually spreading farther afield as the series establishes), and for diversity in the size of swims and types of water in which they take place. We have harbour swims, ocean swims, river swims and lake swims in the series, some in salt water, some in fresh water.

Swimmers must do four of the series’ six swims to qualify for prizes. All swimmers who take part in series swims will win points. Final points will be the tally of all swims completed. The more swims you do, the more points you earn.


Where we can distinguish between swimmers who wear wetsuits and those who swim newd, we shall add 10 per cent to the wetties' handicap time, to level the playing field. Opinions vary as to how much advantage a wetsuit provides to a swimmer, but in our experience from talking with coaches it ranges up to 20 per cent. So we're taking a middle course. We want the playing field to be as level as possible.

The handicap pointscore makes it possible for a swimmer of any age and either gender to win the series. When we’ve run a similar series in NSW over the past six years, past winners have been a truckie (age 40), a graphic designer (age 55), a horse breaker (age 56), a female clerical assistant (50), a lady in her early 60s, a lawyer in his late 50s, and a lady tennis coach (50).

Note that prizes in the series are not transferable, other than by oceanswims.com, and they must be taken in the year of award.

The series is organised by oceanswims.com and is supported by Air Vanuatu. It's a sibling series to our fine ocean swimmers series nsw, now in its ninth year.

So, who won the fos series 2014/15?

Auckland sexagenarian Bruce Smith has won the 1st inaugural fine ocean swimmers series NZ. After six rounds, finishing with the 5 Bridges Swim at Hamilton, Smith 541.93 points from all six swims, to beat another Aucklander, Andrew Stevens, by 16 points. Jenny Stark was third with 508.41. All three placegetters completed all six swims in the series.

Smith wins a trip to either Vanuatu or Fiji for his troubles. The swim travel package he does not select now goes to a random draw of all qualifying swimmers, that is all swimmers who did at least four of the series six swims. At the end of the series six swims, there were 13 swimmers who qualified, five of whom did all six swims, and another five who did five.

Well done, all of youse.

The Leaderboard after five rounds in the series is -

  1. Bruce Smith (Auckland) - 541.93 pts, 6/6 swims
  2. Andrew Stevens (Mt Eden) - 525.56, 6/6 swims
  3. Jenny Stark (Castor Bay) - 508.41, 6/6 swims
  4. Brent Foster (Mt Wellington) - 488.80, 5/6 swims
  5. Harriet Lamb (Te Awamutu) - 458.44, 6/6 swims
  6. Rebecca Hollingsworth (Khandallah) - 396.35, 5/6 swims
  7. Wayne Annan (Glendowie) - 386.75, 6/6 swims
  8. Roger Soulsby (Auckland) - 368.73, 5/6 swims
  9. John Shackleton (Ararimu) - 367.89, 4/6 swims
  10. Pauline Mills (Glendowie) - 365.66, 5/6 swims
  11. Linda Collard (Waitakere) - 343.10 (5/6 swims
  12. Bridget Dingle (Auckland) - 310.79, 4/6 swims
  13. Dermot Smith (Auckland) - 300.34, 4/6 swims

Final points...

For all final points... Click here

And for all Hamilton results, to see how you went... Click here

Remember, everyone who finished a series swim earned points in the series. Points are calculcated by weighting each swimmer's time for age and sex, so making it possible for all swimmers to compete validly, irrespective of age and gender. There's no need to enter the series separately. Newd swimmers receive a 10 per cent time bonus over wettists.

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Garry Chapman shows how unnecessary wetties can be in ocean swimming. He was in the 7.5km swim at the Mount.

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Taupo, morning, start.

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The course at Hamilton spirits you through the city.

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Keep up to date with the fine ocean swimmers series nz, and with goings on in ocean swimming, by signing up for our email updates... Click here

If you have any enquiries about the series... Click here

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Red Beach.

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