Olympic Games medal hope Zac Reid wins record fourth Flannagan Cup ocean swim title in New Plymouth

Tokyo Olympic Games swimmer Zac Reid ticked off another milestone to become the first person to win four Flannagan Cup races in the event’s 105-year history.

Swimming without a wetsuit, the 21-year-old swimmer, who has been selected to represent New Zealand in the 800m freestyle at this year’s Olympic Games, easily won the Open 3.6km ocean race with a time of 47.07 minutes.

In second place at the New Plymouth event was 14-year-old Daniel Callebaut, with a time of 49.30 minutes, followed by Oliver Rust, 15, in 51.28 minutes.

Reid’s sister, Sasha, 19, was first woman home with a time of 52.51 minutes, to complete a special double result for the Reid family.

Zac Reid had been a late entrant in this year’s race, which he had won three times before from 2017-2019.

Reid’s record fourth Flannagan Cup open win pushed him ahead of three time winners Warren Clow (1967,1968,1978) and Trevor Corkin (1969,1972,1982).

However, until 2016 it was run as a handicapped event, meaning start times were staggered according to a swimmer’s ability.

“It felt really good fun out there,” Reid said.

“I always like the event because it is something different than training and it is good to mix it up.”

Before the ocean swim he had warmed up for the morning race with a 3.2km training swim in the pool as part of his Olympic Games preparation.

“I decided to swim without a wetsuit because the water wasn’t too cold but I had some problems on the back straight trying to find the marker buoy with the sun in my eyes.

“I was just hoping I was swimming in a straight line.”

Reid’s coach Sue Southgate​, of the Aquabladz​ Club, said Reid’s countdown for the Olympics was tracking on target.

“He’s into the endurance phase of training at the moment, with nine to ten 7km sessions each week,” Southgate said.

“Being able to qualify early meant we don’t have the anxiety of that anymore, and we can concentrate on doing as well as we can.”

Flannagan Cup race director Iain McCallum​ said entries were up on previous years for the event, which has been held at Ngamotu Beach since 1916.

In other races Nina Goble, 16, was first home in the Open 1.2km in a time of 19.44 minutes, with Oliver Doole, 18, the first male with a time of 20.26 minutes.

Carol O’Sullivan, 45, and David Riley, 36, were first female and male home in the Masters 1.2km race in 23.45 minutes, and 18.30 minutes respectively.

The 400m “give-it-a-go” all-comers race was won by Jackson Rowlands, 9, in 6.15 minutes.

Bella Wansbrough, 14, was first female, and Chris Callebaut, 12, first male, home in the 1.2km Duncan Laing Memorial Trophy junior race with times of 18.07 minutes, and 19.18 minutes respectively.