BEGA’S Zoe Harris overcame difficult surf conditions to win the headline race at the Tathra Wharf to Waves on Sunday.
Harris held off a strong challenge from 16-year-old Brooke Willis to win the 1200m Michael Marshman Architects Splash for Cash.
The Bega Amateur Swimming Club coach recorded victory in a time of 17 minutes, 35.8 seconds.
Harris crossed the line just four seconds ahead of Brooke, who is one of her students.
The Bega pair have dominated the past two Splash for Cash races, with Brooke narrowly taking the honours in 2012.
Just minutes after the race, Harris said she “a bit tired, but excited” about winning.
Harris was quick to play down a rivalry with Brooke, saying they were good friends.
“It was close – I caught a wave right at the end and then sprinted home,” she said.
The Splash for Cash saw competitors begin at the Tathra Wharf and swim 1200 metres to Tathra Beach.
The men’s division was again dominated by Canberra’s John Fox, who finished in a time of 15m53.6s.
As Fox swam towards the shore, organisers had to quickly check for the Splash for Cash record books, with the current top time of 14m39s set by Hayden Rydberg.
Jesse Hoyland-Meaker made sure it was a great day out for the Bega swimming club, finishing second in a time of 16m16.3s, while James Macri was third.
Sunday was the third time Fox has tasted victory at the Splash for Cash, with previous honours occurring in 2002 and 2009.
He also finished runner-up in 2008 to Korean triathlete Seok Kim Ju.
Fox has a strong background in athletics, representing the Australian men’s water polo team at two Olympics Games.
Fox was head coach of the team at the 2012 London Olympics, but had his contract terminated last October.
Tathra Wharf to Waves committee member Linda Badewitz-Dodd said some great times were recorded during the Splash for Cash.
Badewitz-Dodd said conditions for the race were tough, as the ocean swell became bigger.
There was a large cry of “oooh” from competitors as a large wave came through while they waited at the starting line.
Badewitz-Dodd also praised competitor Corey Dimmer, who stopped to help a distressed swimmer.
“That was lovely to see and it summarises the weekend,” she said.