Generation Homes La Grande Swim – 2021 Event Report

There was a silver lining to the Covid cloud this weekend at Generation Homes La Grande Swim in Akoroa – thanks to Christchurch City Council, our plans were approved quick-smart and the Aucklanders travelling from Alert Level 2 were allowed to race in a special start wave of their own.  Feeling safe and secure with the 50 Aucklanders corralled within the confines of ‘caution’ tape, the first 6 waves took to the pristine, glassy calm waters of Akaroa Harbour under clear blue skies.  What a magic day it was, the weather could not possibly have been better!


With the teenagers dominating yet again, the sprint to the finish for what seemed to be 1st and 2nd was nail biting – only 2seconds separated Oxford Bayley and Alec Swan.  But with wave 7 having left 6 minutes after them, they had to wait an agonising few moments to await the arrival of series leader Alex Dunkley from Auckland….and YES, Alex took the 5km event win in 1:01:23, leaving Oxford and Alec in 2nd and 3rd place 37s behind him.  Kudos to Alex who essentially ‘time trialled’ the race on his own, swimming through all the athletes in the previous 6 waves.  That was a young man on a mission for sure!  Abbey Smale impressed, yet again, coming in 4th overall taking the female win in 1:04:36, securing her place as current series leader.  Ella Crowe also swam alone from wave 7 to finish in 2nd place 2mins behind, and 1min ahead of Brooke Bennett.  An incredible race for Bennett racing in the F12-14 category! WOW!

AKAROA, NEW ZEALAND – February 20: Generation Homes La Grande Swim February 20, 2021 in Akaroa, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/

The finish line also signalled the hasty exit of the Aucklanders who, being happy to have raced, left the rest of the field to be in to win the major spot prizes of a Weber BBQ from Generation Homes and a blueseventy wetsuit!  Kathie Stobbs was presented with her Oceans of Fame certificate for completing 75 Ocean Swim Series swims, but sadly, Frank Matheson missed out on receiving his…..he’s from Auckland!  Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for attending in uncertain times…we had 20% more entries than last year!  We are most grateful, and look forward to seeing you all again next year in Akaroa!