Harris Pips the clock in powerade 10KM swim

By Seti Afoa ,

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Mailata Iosia Leau on the turnaround.

Mailata Iosia Leau on the turnaround.

Christina Harris blitzed the field, including the guys, in the POWERADE Open Water 10km Swim at Saoluafata Harbour early on Monday morning. The Nelson native clocked a sub 3-hour time, just, to record another 10km victory. Her time of 3hrs 59minutes 09 seconds was just too close for comfort. Harris was jubilant, and showed it by punching the air on touching the end buoy after her epic swim. 

“I didn’t think I was going to make the 3hr time today. I had 12 minutes to go on my clock when I rounded the last buoy. Very pleased I am to break the 3hr mark,” a beaming Christina Harris after her swim.

Doug Robinson of Wanaka at the feeding station before his last 2.5km lap of the 10km course

Doug Robinson of Wanaka at the feeding station before his last 2.5km lap of the 10km course

Harris was here three months ago in May for the Five Islands Challenge. Her partner Roger Matheson who kayaked for her in that series also returned to tackle the 10KM swim, first time for him. 

The 10KM and 5KM Swims, also known as the POWERADE Pacific Open Water Challenge (POWC), is the go-between event from Warrior Race to the Samoa Swim Series which kicks off later this week. 

Colleen Neilson of Christchurch takes a drinks break too

Colleen Neilson of Christchurch takes a drinks break too

In the meantime, endurance swimmers, congregate early to tackle the dual swims, back to back on consecutive days. 

Finishing second was another Samoa Events regular, Mike Cochrane of Auckland, himself a legend of the Open Water swims. Mike was not too unhappy about being “chicked” by Christina. 

The two last duelled here last year in the same POWC Series (August) and the Five Islands Series earlier in 2015 (May). Both times, Cochrane finished just behind Harris. 

Third in the 10km was Colleen Neilson of Christchurch. This is her first visit to Samoa and the Swim Series. 

Neilson was mighty surprised with her efforts today, particularly since training for this Series started only four months ago after she had back surgery. 

Samoa’s top finish today came from our own swimming legend, Mailata Iosia Leau who finished fourth overall. Leau overcame a slow start to overhaul a tiring field in the last lap to finish fourth, his best finish to date. 

The other major success of the day was the performance of Saoluafata Village’s own swimmers. Ronnie Iosefatu, Malaki Iulio and Luaipou Pimoe swam the very first 10km swim of their lives, and all finished within four hours. The cut off time for the swim is 4hrs 30mins. This is an amazing testimony to the development of the local youth in Swimming and triathlons. All three turned out in the Warrior Race on Saturday where Malaki Iulio claimed first place in the Beat the Heat.  

Doug Robinson of Wanaka at the feeding station before his last 2.5km lap of the 10km course
Doug Robinson of Wanaka at the feeding station before his last 2.5km lap of the 10km course
Colleen Neilson of Christchurch takes a drinks break too
Colleen Neilson of Christchurch takes a drinks break too

The course at Saoluafata Harbour was rated the best one Samoa has to offer in Open Water Swimming by all the regular visitors to Samoa. The early part of the swim was in flat pool like water. 

Turtles, fish of various colours and sizes were sighted throughout the 2.5km course. 

The course start was on the beach at Saoluafata with the end markers closer to Eva and Salelesi to complete the triangle. Swimmers had to complete four laps, with a compulsory feeding stop at every 2.5kms. 

The next swim in the POWC long series is today in the deep Open. 

That swim is from Sauano Village in Fagaloa Tai to Falefa Village, a 5km distance. Should the wind pick up, the alternative Falefa Falls to Le Uaina Resort course will be used. 

Nine swimmers took on today’s race with eight finishers. There will be twice as many for the 5KM swim today. 

10KM Results

Christina Harris (Nelson, NZL) 3:59:09

Mike Cochrane (Auckland, NZL) 3:15:22

Colleen Neilson (Christchurch,NZL) 3:38:49

Mailata Iosia Leau (Aopo, SAM) 3:40:50

Doug Robinson (Wanaka, NZL) 3:44:04

Raewyn Barker (Auckland, NZL) 3:47:05

Roger Matheson (Nelson, NZL) 3:57:10

Ronnie Iosefatu (Saoluafata, SAM) 3:57:21

Luaipou Pimoe (Saoluafata, SAM) 3:58:55

Mariana Morrison (Rotorua, NZL) 3:59:55

Malaki Iulio (Saoluafata, SAM) 3:59:55

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