Radford claims fourth national open water swimming title
Kane Radford retained his national title in the New Zealand Open Water 10km Championships at Lake Taupo today.
It was Radford’s fourth straight win in the event and a good start towards qualifying for the FINA World Championships in Russia in late July.
In the women’s event, in only her second 10km ocean swim event, Penelope Hayes (St Peters) stole the title from race favourite Charlotte Webby.
The national championships, which are part of the Epic Swim event, is the first stepping stone in the process towards qualifying for the World Championships with swimmers needing to finish in the top five in the 10km men’s and women’s events.
Today’s successful swimmers move on to the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series in Perth on 1 February, where they will need to finish in the top six (of Australian and New Zealand swimmers) to automatically secure qualification for the world championships.
Radford, who is based in Australia, felt comfortable in the lead after a strong start to the race.
“It worked out pretty well, it’s all about sitting and waiting and waiting and then when you go you’ve got to and make sure you get the gap and not muck around then once you’re in the lead and just hold it for as long as possible,” Radford said.
“There was a little bit through the middle there where some of the boys took off and I sort of fell back a little bit but I felt pretty comfortable throughout the whole race just sitting there.
“We can only hopefully go up from here and it’s the start of a massive year for me so we just got to keep on building and getting stronger and stronger.
Hayes, a triathlete, only competed in her first 10km open water swim two weeks ago in Penrith, Australia and was surprised but pleased with her results today.
“It was a goal to win but I didn’t know if it was possible or not.
“It’s only my second 10km so I still don’t really know what to expect when I go out there. It was a bit colder than Penrith a couple of weeks ago.
“I’ve had a stress fracture in my foot since July so I haven’t been able to run and it just provides a racing opportunity away from that.
It was a tight finish for second and third in the men’s event with Phillip Ryan (Waterhole) and Liam Albery (Capital) fighting it out for the final podium spots, Ryan just managing to touch first.
Second home in the women’s event was Webby (Aquabladz) followed by Caitlin Delany (Tasman).
The championships continue tomorrow at Lake Taupo with the national 5km events.
Men: Kane Radford (Rotorua) 1:58.40, 1; Phillip Ryan (Waterhole) 1:58.45, 2; Liam Albery (Capital) 1:58.45, 3; Troy Balvert (St Peters) 1:59.00, 4; Ben Ruback (Capital) 2:03.29, 5.
Women: Penelope Hayes (St Peters) 2:10.04, 1; Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz, New Plymouth) 2:15.09, 2; Caitlin Delany (Tasman) 2:21.48, 3; Sammy Winward (Aquagym, Canterbury) 2:23.30, 4; Bridget Maher (West Auckland) 2:27.43, 5.
Photo credit: Swimming New Zealand