Ocean swimming is somewhat of a "sanity-saver" for Warrnambool's Susan Atherton.
"Just with having young kids and keeping fit," she said. "And particularly with the last couple years, getting out in the ocean more with COVID-19 closures has been really good."
The 39-year-old found herself the fastest female out the Portland leg of the Shipwreck Coast Swim Series on Saturday.
Atherton finished the course with a time of 16 minutes and 48 seconds, ahead of 17-year-old Ingrid Cavarsan with 17.13. Warrnambool's Emily Jansz (17.43) rounded out the top three.
"I was really happy with how I went, I just get in and swim, I don't really think about it like that (times)," Atherton said. "I guess I've been swimming a bit more lately and feeling good in the water."
Atherton's win comes off a fourth at Port Fairy, with the mother-of-three aiming to complete the final two legs of the series. She said it was a great event to be a part of.
"It's great to see the smiles on people's faces, I think it brings out the best of people getting out and getting involved in community sport," she said.
In the men's category, Warrnambool's Isaac Jones slayed the rest of the field with a time of 13 minutes and 52 seconds.
After claiming second in the Port Fairy leg, Jones, 26, shaved four seconds off his time at Portland and finished more than 90 seconds ahead of nearest rival, Sebastian Christie-Crane (15.29), while South Melbourne's Karsten Forsterling (15.32) swam third.
Portland Surf Life Saving Club president Roger Trewavis said he was ecstatic with the response from the region. Initially anticipating between 110-150 swimmers, the event pulled in 194 entries.
The third leg of the series will see the Tony Ryan Memorial Warrnambool swim held on January 29. Port Campbell will round out the series on February 5.
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