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Dunkley & Heath Claim 10km National Titles

Event Wrap of the 2024 Orangetheory NZ Open Water Swimming Championships

The 2024 Orangetheory NZ Open Water Swimming Championships were highlighted by stunning conditions and great racing. Held in conjunction with over 800 swimmers taking part in the Banana Boat NZ Ocean Swim Series, it was an epic day in Taupo. Whilst the weather conditions were immaculate for open water swimming, with the water temperature a lovely 21.6 degrees, and the sun beating down, the action was heating up in the water.


Alex Dunkley (Roskill) retained his 10km national title taking the lead from the start and swimming his own race. Dunkley held a comprehensive 100m lead at the end of the first 2.5km lap and never looked back, extending his lead to at the back end of the race to claim the Roland St Clair Cup for the second time. Behind Dunkley was a group that swam together throughout the first half of the race, which included some of the 7.5km swimmers as well, with Louis Clark (North Shore) and Larn Hamblyn-Ough (Coast) watching each other closely. Clark made his move on the third lap to take out the silver medal in his first Open Water event, whilst Hamblyn-Ough claimed the bronze medal, an impressive feat having just returned from a family holiday in the United Kingdom.


Ruby Heath (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) claimed her third Auntie Brown Cup in the Women’s 10km with a strong second half of the race to pull away from Talitha McEwan (Mt Maunganui) and Neve Tassicker (Nga Tai Tuatea a Taraika). Holly Smith (Selwyn) crossed the finish line first in the 15 – 17 years event to win the gold medal ahead of Rory Gordon (Wharenui) and Hayley McIntyre (St Paul’s).


The Boy’s 7.5km event was held at the same time of the 10km, with Jack Potier (Coast) and Ethan Stocks (Roskill) going out the main lead pack for the 10km event. On the final 2.5km lap, Potier pulled away to claim the 15 – 17 years age group (1:34:23) ahead of Stocks (1:35:02) and Kinnon Broekhuizen (Hamilton Aquatics – 1:37:57). Marcell Kepess (Tasman – 1:49:31) took gold in the 13 – 14 years ahead of Enoch Wu (Coast – 2:16:38).


The Girl’s 7.5km saw Sophie Hay (Hamilton Aquatics) and Olivia Bates (Howick Pakuranga) have a great battle for the 15 – 17 years title, separated by only 33 seconds at the finish. Hay (1:38:17) took home the gold medal, with Bates (1:38:50) the silver and Marina Nadilo (Nga Tai Tuatea a Taraika – 1:49:30) the bronze. Milla Heal (Palmerston North – 2:36:57) won the gold medal in the 13 – 14 years age group.


The Men’s 5km event saw a tight battle between Blair Helms (North Shore) and Dunkley, with the two out in front at the completion of the first lap going stroke for stroke. During the second lap, Dunkley started suffering from cramp and was unable to continue, leaving Helms (1:01:50) to cruise to a comfortable national title in his first Open Water event. Teammate Nick Cowen (North Shore – 1:06:52) claimed the silver in the open field and gold in the 15 – 17 years age group, just beating bronze medallist Bevan Jacobs (Heretaunga Sundevils – 1:06:56) to the line. In the 13 – 14 years, Tyler Lushkott (United – 1:09:32) took home the gold medal with a strong swim.


The Women’s 5km saw a close battle for the open medals, with the medallists finishing within 5 seconds of each other. Ariella Riley (Hamilton Aquatics – 1:10:24) claimed her first national senior title ahead of Tessa Scott (St Paul’s – 1:10:29) and Emilia Finer (Neptune & Swim Dunedin – 1:10:29). Riley also claimed the 15 – 17 years age group ahead of teammates Isabelle Blackmore (St Paul’s – 1:24:06) and Emma Fletcher (St Paul’s – 1:24:12). Scott also won the 13 – 14 years age group ahead of Maeve McDonnell (Howick Pakuranga – 1:11:08) and Sophia Maltai-Spence (Liz van Welie Aquatics – 1:14:35).


The Men’s 2.5km had Harrison Cooke (North Shore – 32:32) win the gold medal in an impressive swim, outlasting Ethan Stocks (33:23) and local Ivan Abele (Taupo) for the open medals. David Beck (Club 37 – 40:30) took home the gold medal in the Multi-Class event, with Tate Pichon (Club 37 – 45:49) and Guy Harrison (Heretaunga Sundevils – 46:38) taking home the medals. Stocks took out the 15 – 17 years event, with Josh Carroll (Kiwi West Aquatics – 34:47) and Orlando Hardie (Hamilton Aquatics – 35:55) claiming the silver and bronze respectively. Jack Kennett (Levin – 35:08) claimed the 13 – 14 years age group, with Charles Jessen (Kiwi West Aquatics – 35:40) and James Heap (St Paul’s) taking out the medals.


For the Women’s 2.5km event, it was South African Rebecca Meder (North Shore – 33:14) who produced a dominant swim to be the first female across the line. Chloe Peters (Hamilton Aquatics – 35:59) was won the gold as the first Kiwi, with Nicola Lovell (Blenheim – 37:12) claiming silver and Evie Skidmore (Trojans – 37:17) closely behind for the bronze. Peters and Skidmore also took home the gold and silver in the 15 – 17 years age group, ahead of Indiana Riley (Hamilton Aquatics – 37:33) for the bronze. Lovell took home the 13 – 14 years, with Mingmae Yang (Dannevirke – 39:29) and Nia Linyard (Tasman – 40:50) rounding out the podium.


The 4 x 1km Relays had 6 different categories, with all teams participating winning a medal in the respective category. The Roskill Men’s team retained their title as the fastest relay team to claim the Men’s Open gold medal (47:12) ahead of North Shore B (47:32).

Hamilton Aquatics (319 points) took home the Top Club award ahead of neighbours St Paul’s Swimming Club (305 points), with North Shore (209 points) taking home the bronze medal position.

Thanks to Orangetheory for their support of the event, the Banana Boat NZ Ocean Swim Series event team for hosting, our technical officials for their expertise and time, and the swimmers for taking part in an epic day in Taupo. Congratulations to everyone that got involved in the water.

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