By ANTHONY PROBERT
VISITING swimmer Nicola Fraschini overcame choppy conditions at Princess Royal Harbour on Saturday to claim individual honours in the Albany Masters Harbour Swim.
Fraschini crossed the line in 49mins 26 secs in the 4km race from Princess Royal Sailing Club to the Anzac Peace Park.
He said the water temperature of around 19 degrees was not as cold as he was expecting and the south-easterly wind direction assisted in crossing the harbour, although it pushed most swimmers slightly off-course towards the end of the race.
Fraschini has international swimming experience, having swam in his home country of Italy and later in South Korea.
He gave the sport away for 10 years before returning to the water last year.
The 35-year-old was in Albany in January for the Swimming WA Open Water Series at Middleton Beach, where he won the men’s open 2.5km event.
After recovering from the race he had planned to spend some time in Denmark with his wife before returning to Perth.
Rebecca Weller was the first female swimmer out of the water, winning the 18-24 years category and crossed the line second overall in a time of 51mins 59 secs, just over two minutes behind Fraschini.
The pair collected $300 prize money and a medal for their efforts.
Paul Blackbeard, swimming in the 55-59 age bracket, placed third overall with a time of 52 mins 23 seconds.
In other categories, Snappers won the team race in 1 hour 4mins, ahead of The Strokes in 1 hour 12mins, while Lex Robertson won the wetsuit division in 54 mins 50 seconds.
Despite the cool overcast conditions and the increasing south-easterly wind, the event maintained its popularity this year with local and visiting open-water swimmers.
Albany Surf Life Saving and Albany Sea Rescue Squad assisted with the event.