A unique swim and run event attracted a large field on Monday night at Mount Maunganui.
The event was the one-off Splash and Dash, a 500m swim followed by a 5km run around Mauao. The event attracted a number of triathletes, some of whom are visiting for the Port of Tauranga Half on Saturday, as well as the young surf lifesavers who are becoming regulars in the Team Shorebreak Ocean Series.
As it was a combination of swimming and running, this race was more tactical, the fastest swimmers not always able to hold off the stronger runners.
Olympic swimmer Daniel Bell was first out of the water, followed closely by Gisborne 16-year-old Taylor Reid, Taranaki triathlete Clark Ellice and Papamoa surf lifesaver Mason Bryant.
The first woman out on to the run was 14-year-old Maia Bryant, closely followed by Alice McFall.
Ellice showed his class in the run, coming home 30 seconds ahead of Reid in 24m 48s. Both athletes are at the Mount this week working in a triathlon camp environment run by Team Shorebreak Inc.
Third was local triathlete Andrew Lloyd.
The women's race ended closely, Maia Bryant holding off McFall in the run to give the young surf lifesaver the win by just five seconds.
The masters section provided some close racing, as usual. Ironwoman athlete Debbie Clark took the women's honours from Jo Tisch and Claire Bentley.
In the men's, Mark Anderson won with Matt Jordan second and Graeme Pearson third.
Race four in the swim series is today, with registrations at Pilot Bay from 5.30pm and the briefing at 6pm. Racing begins shortly after in three divisions.