Sea swims have been held in Nelson over the summer on Thursday nights for 25 years. For the first 20 years, the swims were organised by Peter Owen of the Nelson company Eyebright, and were known as the Eyebright swims. That historical link remains, with the annual Eyebright Mile, actually a swim of 2km, to be held this coming season on Sunday January 12, 2014.
Six seasons ago, organisation moved to a small group, working under the auspices of the Nelson Triathlon and Multisports Club. Port Nelson became the naming rights sponsor for the Thursday series, which this season starts on November 14 with the final swim on March 20, 2014.
The Port Nelson Summer Sea Swims are held each Thursday night at 6.15pm from the Nelson Yacht Club ramp on Wakefield Quay in Nelson. Swimmers must register by 6pm. Season registration costs $55 for the full season of Thursday swims and includes a series swim cap. Discounts are available for club members (20 percent) and school students (50 percent). Extra series caps are available for $5. Casual swims cost $5 per night (casual swimmers must also buy a cap ($5) and are asked to register online in advance of their first swim). Please check in at the ramp by 6pm.
On each night there will be a short and a long course. The short swim will generally be 200m-500m, while the long swim will be 1000m-1500m. Exact distances will vary depending on conditions.
Starts will be in waves, with strong swimmers starting first (white caps), confident swimmers in wave two (green caps) and recreational swimmers in wave three (pink caps). Competitors in the short course race will start in a fourth wave (orange caps). Less confident swimmers are asked to start at the rear of wave three or four. A designated kayaker will accompany these swimmers, who will also be in view of a shore official at all times. Choose this option if you enjoy the company and security of the series environment, but are not concerned about competition or times (times will be taken however as this is a check that all swimmers are accounted for).
Times will be adjusted to reflect the wave start, so you'll receive your exact swim time. However, it's important that you verify your wave start on registration and have the correct coloured cap. This year we have a choice of latex and silcone caps, all at $5.
How the series works
The top female and male swimmer for the year will be determined by awarding points to the first ten male and female swimmers (regardless of age) in the long swim each night.
The top non-wetsuit competitors will also be awarded points to determine the best non-wetsuit swimmers in male and female divisions.
As well, to determine the best swimmers in each age group, season points will accumulate in the following categories:
Short swim male under-16
Short swim female under-16
Short swim male 16+
Short swim female 16+
Long swim males under-16, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+
Long swim females under-16, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+
As even the keenest swimmers can't make every swim, season points will be taken on a competitor's best 11 swims. The age groups are decided on the swimmer's age at March 31, 2014. For example, if you turn 30 on March 15, you'll swim in the 30-39 age group all season.
Things you should know and remember
Please register online. If you plan to do just a few races, choose the Pay at Event option and pay $5 when you check in each night. By registering online, we have your emergency contact information, check-in is quicker and you'll be emailed results straight after the race.
Swimmers will be allocated a race number, which will be written on the back of their hand each night. If you wish to add other race options later you'll need to complete a new online registration.
Each night's course will be displayed on a white board at the top of the ramp. It's your responsibility to know the course, whether you're swimming the short or the long swim.
The finish zone will be marked by two cones on the ramp at the water line. The finish line is in knee-deep water in this zone, ie, the last place you can swim to - we recommend swimming as long as you can. Time will be taken when swimmers cross this line. Do not attempt to stand up to get a better place, this can be dangerous as conditions are often slippery It's important to know the finish procedure - to see how this works, click here
Proceed between the cones in the order you finished. Your numbers will be taken then. If you need assistance, raise your hand and call out.
If you do not finish the race, be sure to notify the timekeepers that you have pulled out, otherwise we have no way of knowing that you’re not still in the water.
Results will be posted on this website as soon as possible after each race.