The NZ Open Water Swimming Championships held in Taupo over the weekend was extremely successful for the Greerton Swim Club.
Star of the show was Mia Pugh, 16, who surprised everybody by taking the open women's silver medal in the 10km event on Saturday before backing up with the club's first national open title since Nathan Capp's exploits of 2016 by winning the 5km event.
Pugh had been targeting the event since winning the 13-15 age group 5km last year but to come away with a national open gold and silver, two age group golds and two NZ Secondary Schools gold medals for Bethlehem College was not expected.
Greerton coach and mentor Tai Daniela was rapt with her performance, particularly in the 10km as it was a "step into the unknown".
In both the 5km and 10km races a battle of attrition unfolded as the fields were slowly whittled down to four swimmers who were forced into all-out sprints for the timing pad.
The premier 10km championship was won by the experienced Stefannie Gillespie, 22, with Australia's Kate Dryden and New Caledonia's Maiana Flament making up the top four. The top three were separated by nine seconds after exactly two hours and 12 minutes of racing.
In the 5km event it was visitor Flament who got the touch just six seconds ahead of first New Zealander Pugh in a time of 1:05:34 with Hamilton's Kaitlyn Sosa a further three seconds back.
In an added bonus Pugh has met the Swimming NZ selection criteria for the national team to travel to Papua New Guinea for the Oceania Swimming Championship in June.
Other club success in the shorter NZ Secondary Schools Championship events saw a gold go to Louis Fitzjohn in the 1km while Connor Farrell finished strongly for 4th in the 2.5km event.
In the associated epic open water events Greerton Club age group results were: 100m Poppy Richardson 1st, Grace Richardson 9th; 500m Caitlin Farrell 1st, Will Quin 1st, Zach Quin 5th, Dulcie Copeland 7th; 1km event bronze to Millie Quin, Brooke Ross 17th, Talitha McEwan 21st; 5km Talitha McEwen finished 4th.