Defender Radford faces top line up in capital

The original article by Greg Taipari is posted (with picture) on The Daily Post since 28th January 2011

Kane Radford will look to defend his Wellington Harbour open water title when he takes on some of Australasia's best swimmers.

Tomorrow, the Rotorua swimmer competes in the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, which returns to Wellington for the State Capital Classic, race three of the six-race series.

It is shaping up to be the largest and strongest field to assemble in Wellington.

Radford told The Daily Post he was looking forward to trying to repeat last year's win.

"It's always good to try and go back and try and retain a title.

"My build up has been all right and I'm looking forward to the swim."

Last year's defending champions are back on the start line, however they are likely to be pushed hard to win again over the 2.8km event off Oriental Parade.

In the men's race, all three 2010 podium placegetters are back on the start line.

Radford returns as defending champion, taking the win last year over Bryn Murphy (Invercargill).

They go into the Wellington race one-all in the 2010/2011 series after Murphy beat Radford in race one (State Auckland Harbour Crossing) and Radford beat Murphy in race two (State Russell to Paihia Swim).

Third last year at the State Capital Classic was Cook Strait record holder, Casey Glover (Wellington).

Glover finished just 16 seconds behind Murphy and will be looking to win in front of family and friends in his home town event.

Radford will be looking to improve on his performances at the New Zealand national open water championships.

He took second in the 5km and fifth in the 10km swim in Taupo two weeks ago.

For Charlotte Webby (Taranaki) defending her title just became one step harder with the inclusion of Australasian swim champion, Cara Baker (Auckland, residing in Australia), also on the start line.

Baker did the double at the the national open water champs.

Webby and Baker each have one victory each so far in 2010/2011 State Ocean Swim Series, however it will be the first time they are on the start line together this season.

Both these swimmers will be determined not only take the title but also secure precious series points, their best three swims contributing towards their overall points tally at the end of the series and ultimately determining their share of the over $30,000 prize purse.