BY ADRIAN MILLER
THE Convent to Main Beach Surf Swim Classic was swum and won in Yamba yesterday with 13-year-old Courtney Martin the first to cross the finish line.
The Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Lifesaving Club member lead home Alicia Bain, from the NSW Central Coast, and Adam Douglas, from Brisbane.
Courtney, whose win came in her fourth Convent to Main Beach race, finished the swim in 13.09 minutes, and was off a handicap of five minutes.
Alicia crossed the line in 15.17 minutes, off a three minute handicap, while Adam finished in 12.19 minutes, off a six minute handicap.
The 13-year-old led home a record field of 296 swimmers, which included race favourite Kellog's Nutri-Grain Ironman Hugh Dougherty, 2000 winner and Freshwater lifesaver Oliver Loomes and Grafton resident Jacob Lollback.
The winner lead out strongly and kept in the main bunch right through the race. Turning at the final buoy in second place she powered through the remaining metres, and without waves to help over the final metres, was the first to stand and raced home to win.
Courtney, the 2003/04 National Junior Surf Lifesaving Under-14 Surfboard champion, said she was happy with her swim, and surprised by the event.
"I'm very, very excited about the win. I felt good all the way and I swam better than I expected," she said.
"It wasn't as tough as some shorter races I've done and I wasn't really nervous at the start, because I was only in it for fun."
The race did not run perfectly smoothly, as a timing malfunction meant swimmers were not aware of times until well after the event had finished.
Hugh Dougherty, by far the quickest swimmer in the race, came in 136th, Loomes finished 195th and Lollback 163rd.