Ray Winstanley of Tasmania has walked away with the win in the Pacific Open Water Challenge (P.O.W.C) 2017.
His combined time of 3hrs 55mins 51secs is impressive considering the nature of the 10km and 5km swims.
The 10km course at Saoluafata Harbour was a little longer than marked, probably by an added 1km; and the 5.2km Swim in the open from Sauano village to Falefa village was point to point, but the wild wind blew and blew which made it lumpy and bumpy.
Still the Tasmanian was more than a match for the conditions.
He clocked 2:39:38 for 10kms and 1:16:23 for the shorter distance.
His nearest opponent is Christina Harris, the women’s defending champion with a combined time of 4:49:16.
Christina is a regular in these conditions, and last swam the 5km course in 2014 when it was last on. It didn’t make it any easier yesterday.
The deep open was rough, and not nice, also long - exactly the nature of the Pacific Open Water Challenge. That is why we swim seas and oceans and we got that in the 5km swim at Falefa Bay.
Of the 21 POWC starters, sixteen finished both races and got the medal to prove it.
Second in the women’s race behind Christina is Alice Sagar of Wellington (5:13:40 combined) and third is Tracey Messinger of Auckland (5:41:44).
On the men’s podium with Winstanley was Jason Bryce (4:52:33) of Williamstown in Melbourne and previous men’s winner Mike Cochrane (5:19:23) of Auckland.
Of the local Durant Webster, 13, impressed in the 10km finishing 4th overall in that race with a time of 3:14:40. He didn’t swim the shorter distance. Ronnie Iosefatu of Saoluafata had a combined time of 6:07:22 and finishing 12th overall.
P.O.W.C top 5
Ray Winstanley, 3:55:51
Jason Bryce, 4:52:33
Mike Cochrane, 5:19:23
Vince Sesto, 5:28:26
Doug Robinson, 5:52:50
Christina Harris, 4:49:16
Alice Sagar, 5:13:30
Tracey Messinger, 5:41:44
Raewyn Barker, 2:00:46
Gina Yukich, 6:02:02