Double honours for Baker, Radford at State NZ Open Water Champs
Radford from Rotorua took out the men’s 5km title after winning the 10km honours yesterday, while Gold-Coast Cara Baker from the Howick Pakuranga club also defended her 5km crown after winning the 10km.
It was a repeat of the top placings with Radford managing to hold off the impressive Phillip Ryan (Waterhole), just edging out the Aucklander by a body length to win in a slick 58:04 in ideal conditions on Lake Taupo.
Young Masterton swimmer Isaac Foote, swimming for the Capital club, was third a minute behind.
“It was nicer and flatter today. It was good to be able to back up a good race,” Radford said. “You have to get used to backing up which is what we will need to do at the worlds.
“I felt I had something left today but Phillip swum great over the weekend and congratulations to him. He pushed me hard which was great.”
Radford heads to Perth tomorrow to prepare for a major 10km race next weekend against Australia’s best.
Baker showed her class today to key off the second bunch of men throughout, winning in 1:02.02, with 16 year old Emma Robinson (Capital) confirming her strong form to finish second 30 seconds behind, replicating her runner-up effort from yesterday.
Australia Sarah Thompson was third ahead of masters world champion Kirsten Cameron (Ace).
“I am pretty happy about that. It’s a big weekend. The 5km is a bit of a fun thing to me but it is good to have two good swims in two days,” Baker said. “I was really relaxed today and I ended up leading and keyed off the boys.
“Spain (world championships) is on the horizon and I need to focus on that now and I also have the State Ocean Swim Series. I will go back now and reassess things with my coach Denis Cotterell.”
The State national championships were part of the State Epic Swim which attracted more than 550 swimmers for the championship swims and a range of recreational swims.
Elite men, 5km: Kane Radford (Rotorua) 58:04, 1; Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Auckland) 58:06, 2; Isaac Foote (Capital, Masterton) 59:19, 3; Troy Balvert (St Peters, Waikato) 59:29, 4; Ben Ruback (Masterton) 1:00.02, 5.
Elite women: Cara Baker (Howick Pakuranga) 1:01.02, 1; Emma Robinson (Capital, Wellington) 1:02.31, 2; Sarah Thompson (Australia) 13.44, 3; Kirsten Cameron (Capital) 1:04.26, 4; Emily Seymour (Australia) 1:05.28, 5.
For full results: www.epicswim.co.nz
CAPTION: Cara Baker celebrates the double winning the 5km title to the 10km honours yesterday at the State New Zealand Open Water Championships in Taupo, and a general scene of the action at Lake Taupo.
The images are free for editorial use only. Mandatory credit: Mark McKeown
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