Swimming: Big plans afoot for next Harbour swim

By Julie Ash

The successful Harbour Crossing Ocean Swim in Auckland could be part of the New Zealand open water championships as early as next year.

Following Saturday's event - which attracted around 900 competitors including a sprinkling of Olympic swimmers and triathletes - organiser Scott Rice said he hoped Swimming New Zealand would agree to the event becoming part of the national open water championships.

"The harbour crossing would still be run for recreational-type swimmers but would form part of the New Zealand open water championships," he said.

"We are still in talks ... but it could be a reality next year."

The open water championships are normally a low-key event held at Lake Rotoma, near Rotorua.

Rice said moving it to Auckland would raise the profile and give competitors and spectators the chance to see some of the best long-distance swimmers in New Zealand.

The championships are held over a 5km course, almost twice that of the 2.8km Harbour Crossing.

Olympic swimmer Moss Burmester won this year's race in just over 33 minutes, edging out Robert Voss.

Burmester's fellow Olympian Helen Norfolk won the women's race in just under 36m.

Of the triathletes, Bevan Docherty was the top performer in the men's race, finishing seventh in 35m 56s, and under-23 world champion Andrea Hewitt finished sixth in 39m 34s.

Rosie the dog - the entrant competitors most wanted to beat - finished in 1h 15m.

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