Gisborne teenager Matt Scott easily won the Sand to Surf elite "I'm Going Long" swim at Mount Maunganui's Main Beach this morning.
Scott, 18, led from start to finish and hit the beach opposite Mt Drury in 30m 29s, nearly 70 metres ahead of 49-year-old Brett Foster in second with David Boles from Rotorua third.
"I have done one of these before at the Mount and I wasn't really expecting anything big," Scott said.
"I have recently moved from Gisborne to the High Performance Centre in Auckland and have had a massive week. They said the only way I could get this morning's training session off was if I win this. I felt really good.
"Navigating is not too hard as the buoys are so big and so bright. Between the two islands is quite choppy and I swallowed a bit of water.
"Hopefully I can win a few more. We will have to see what happens throughout the series."
In the women's race, Charlotte Webby won her third straight title in a smart time of 31m 57s with just the three fastest male swimmers ahead of her.
"I'm pretty happy. I didn't see too many boys in front of me but I just really wanted to go out there and race," she said.
"I haven't raced in a while so just build some confidence back up.
"I like the Mount. It is a great place to swim and around the islands is pretty exciting. The sea is really clear.
"I am fortunate not to get stuck on the rocks yet and obviously if I swam into them I would have a different story, but I have been pretty lucky."