Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Piloting the Helix to London 2012

In the open water, blueseventy athletes Kane Radford from New Zealand and Melissa Gorman from Australia are paving their way to London later this year.
Radford, Gorman claim State NZ Ocean Swim Series titles (photo Simon Watts)
Rotorua’s Kane Radford showed he is on target to qualify for the London Olympics after clinching the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series this morning on the back of a victory in the final leg at Takapuna Beach on Auckland’s North Shore.
He showed true grit in overcoming the largest field of elites in the season to win the 2.8km State King of the Bays just one day after breaking Danyon Loader’s long-standing 1500m freestyle national record at the New Zealand Swimming Championships. (photo Simon Watts)
“It was really good out there; I didn’t feel too bad after the week that we’ve been through so I just wanted to get out there and try to control the race and see where we ended up,” he said.
“With these kinds of races you never really know what’s going to happen because it all happens in such a short space of time.
“It’s great to be able to win this series back to back. To win the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series is truly a title to be proud of so I’m absolutely stoked.”

Radford spent most of the 2.8km race jostling with Australian Michael Sheil and Kiwis Phillip Ryan and Casey Glover but managed to sneak away to win in 32mins 39secs, despite an energetic sprint up the beach by the Aussie; with Ryan in third.
“It was definitely one of the closest races we have had this season. I just really wanted to secure that win so I was happy just to sit right there in front of the rest, knowing that they would have to put on a big burst to be able to pass me,” said Radford, who is preparing for June’s Olympic open water qualifier in Portugal.
“Preparations for Portugal are going really well at the moment. I’ve been doing my doing my best times in the pool during the last week at the indoor championships so things couldn’t be better.”

Australian and former world champion Melissa Gorman secured the women’s overall series in perfect conditions this morning with her third win from three attempts in New Zealand waters. She finished in a sprint up the beach to head off New Zealand champion Cara Baker and defending series champion Charlotte Webby in a time of 32mins 56secs.
“It was a really nice swim out there today. It was probably the nicest conditions I’ve swam in since I’ve been in New Zealand,” she said.
“I think for me this is always one of the toughest times to be racing. We just had our national championships a couple of weeks ago and when you’re getting back into hard training after that your body goes through a bit of a adaptation phase, which can make it very hard to come out and race.”

Unlike in her previous two victories in the Bay of Islands and Wellington, the Australian did not have it all her own way this time as Baker pushed her hard, all the way to the end.
“It’s great to come away with a win today because it was a really tough race with Cara. She was up with me the whole way so it was good to have someone to push me and I’m happy to come away with the win,” said Gorman, who has already qualified for the London Olympics and is using the State Ocean Swim Series as part of her preparation.
“I’ve really loved competing in the series this year and would love to come back next year too.”
The ninth annual State King of the Bays hosted a record 1400 participants who competed across four different distance options designed to cater for all ages and abilities. They included long swims of 2.8km and 1000m, as well as a 300m race and a 200m kids’ race.
For more information and full results visit the website at www.oceanswim.co.nz.

Elite 2.8km Men: Kane Radford (Rotorua) 32:39, 1; Michael Sheil (Australia) 32:40, 2; Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Auckland) 32:47, 3; Casey Glover (Capital, Wellington) 33.30; 4; Stefan Talbot (Masterton) 33:32, 5.
Elite 2.8m Women: Melissa Gorman (Australia) 32:56, 1; Cara Baker (Howick Pakuranga) 33:00; 2; Charlotte Webby (AquaBladz, Taranaki) 33:41, 3; Lauren Boyle (North Shore) 35:51, 4; Kirsty Wannan (Auckland) 35:59

provided by IAN HEPENSTALL Sports Media NZ Ltd

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