Veteran swimmer eyes Hipkins Cup
Open ocean swimmer Peter Colbert’s knowledge of the tidal flows off Marlborough’s northern coastline should stand him in good stead for this weekend’s Hipkins Cup.
The ocean swim event will celebrate its 50th year on Sunday.
The 2.3-kilometre event from Rarangi Beach to Whites Bay, 17km north of Blenheim, has been a regular date in the veteran swimmer’s diary since the early 1990s.
He has won the race twice and finished a number of times in the minor placings for his age group.
Peter is not giving anything away on his chances of success on Sunday, except to say the sea and weather conditions will be, as always, the biggest obstacle.
With strong northwesterly winds forecast, and a high tide at the start, he expects plenty of chop on the water to sort out the leading bunch.
The fact the former Air Force serviceman is competing is a feat in itself.
Four years ago Peter experienced heartburn-like sensations while cycling which later culminated in him having a quadruple bypass.
‘‘I was told two of my arteries were 98 per cent gone,’’ he says.
Three months later he was back in the water competing in a 2km event.
The first stages of open water swimming races normally involve a bit of jostling as swimmers find their line and stroke, Peter says.
The nationally ranked age group swimmer plans to keep out of the rough stuff and find his own route to the finish.
‘‘It’s a beach start which I like, and depending on the conditions I might head out and then try and catch the current to bring me into Whites Bay.’’
The race is one of his favourite events, he says.
‘‘It is the best sea swim event in the country because it is held in a beautiful setting with spectacular scenery, and it’s in our own backyard in Marlborough.’’
Peter is not sure what time he will finish in but hopes to be among the leading group as they head to the finish line.
All ages can enter, with under16s needing permission from a parent or guardian to sign up.
Entry is $10 on the day, with registration from 11am.
The swim starts at noon, following a safety briefing at the Rarangi Fire Station from 11.50am.
Hipkins Cup swimmer and past winner Peter Colbert at Rarangi Beach.