2 Feb 2011"Winners: Sam Franklin and Simone Ackermann"

  • St Helier's Bay
  • |
  • Swim: 750 metre
  • |
  • Run: 4 kilometre

Race #5 signals the start of the second half of the season in the 2XU Stroke & Stride Series. While a flashy result or two early on can impress it is now that the series is won or lost with every result critical for athletes garnering points in the hotly contested Grand Prix.

The 750 metre swim for this event was set over a triangular course with only the back leg buffeted by the balmy westerly breeze blowing down the harbour on another spectacular Auckland summer’s afternoon. Best of all this breeze was helping push everyone in the right direction so fast swim times were predicted.

It was the turn of the woman’s field to start first and the front of the pack were soon making rapid progress around the buoys. Ten minutes and five seconds later our race winner from a fortnight ago Rebecca Clarke was touching the sand and running up the beach. Her race victory two weeks ago was on the back of a massive 45 second advantage from the swim; this time her advantage was pegged back to just 12 seconds. Perhaps more ominous was that it was reigning Series Champion Simone Ackermann in hot pursuit with Tanya Dromgool and Elise Salt also keeping close.

Simultaneous with the fastest women hitting the beach the men’s field were hitting the waves and striking off for their spin around the swim course. Sam Franklin stamped his authority early on pulling clear of the chasing pack and earning himself a 10 second advantage as he recorded 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Strung out behind were a number of Stroke & Stride luminaries including Michael Poole and Elliott Frizelle. Sam Ward recorded 10 minutes and 6 seconds, Sam Morreau 10 minutes 15 seconds, Cooper Rand 10 minutes and 18 seconds and Liam Scopes 10 minutes 19 seconds.

Out on the run course it was soon Simone Ackermann moving to the head of the field accompanied by Tanya Dromgool. The 4 kilometre run course took athletes out as far as Mission Bay before their return to St Heliers. The runner’s reward for making the exposed turn cone was a brief nudge from the tailwind to start the homeward leg. As they came into view a few hundred metres from the finish it was still the Simone and Tanya show as they had moved well clear of all pursuers and primed themselves for a final push to the line. It was a gutsy Simone Ackermann that prevailed with her intimate knowledge of these events and those final few metres of footpath, boat and beach that comes with having done scores and scores of Stroke & Stride races. Coming home just four seconds down Tanya Dromgool’s audacious race earned her a podium finish for the first time. Elise Salt was another running well managing to get up into third place. Early leader Rebecca Clarke wasn’t giving up without a fight and held on for 4th place ahead of Alan Lythe.

The chasing men had leader Sam Franklin in sight as they moved through the change area and out onto the run course. However that was as close as anyone was to get as this race was all Sam Franklin as he backed up the fastest swim of the day with a rock solid run to take a comfortable victory – when you score your first ever Stroke & Stride win you want to do it in style. Making huge gains on the run was Sam Ward as he ran himself up into second place overall for a most impressive result; his best Stroke & Stride finish by a long margin. Matching Sam Ward’s sparkling run split was Liam Scopes finishing in third for his best result of the season just ahead of Elliot Frizelle and Cooper Rand.

There’s movement in the Grand Prix points table. Sam Franklin’s didn’t just win his first Stroke & Stride he has also moved to the top of Grand Prix and has himself a valuable 3 point advantage over Michael Poole. Any possible challenges to the leading dynamic duo this season will come from Elliot Frizelle, Cameron Todd, Nick Berry, Sam Morreau, Cameron Burstall, Sam Ward or Cooper Rand.

There are five female athletes putting their hands up to take out their Series. With a race win and presently 12 points in front Elise Salt is looking good though we know Alana Lythe, Simone Ackermann, Rebecca Clarke and Lizzie Orchard are all capable of upsetting the final standings. Everyone now has just three more events to sort out a final order.



Sam Franklin

24m 16s


Sam Ward

24m 36s


Liam Scopes

24m 50s


Elliot Frizelle

25m 04s


Cooper Rand

25m 11s


Sam Morreau

25m 44s


Matthew Franklin

25m 49s


Cameron Burstall

26m 03s


Jay Wallwork

26m 04s


Ben Chidgey

26m 11s


Andrew Farrell         USA

26m 15s


Simon Cochrane

26m 31s


Daniel Smith

26m 47s


Andrew Walker

26m 51s


Darragh Walshe

26m 52s



Simone Ackermann

26m 06s


Tanya Dromgool

26m 10s


Elise Salt

27m 36s


Rebecca Clarke

28m 01s


Alana Lythe

28m 36s


Lizzie Orchard

29m 06s


Rachel Penney

29m 24s


Courtney Evans

29m 33s


Claire Macky

29m 37s


Kelly Pick        COK

29m 38s


Julia Cree

29m 49s


Amelia Watkinson

29m 52s


Rachel Bowie

29m 53s


Bex Burridge

30m 28s


Nikki Hill

30m 32s

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