Nationality a big barrier for Kane Radford

The original article by Greg Taipari is posted (with picture) on The Daily Post since 7th March 2011

If Rotorua's Kane Radford was an Australian he would be packing his bags and going to this year's World Swimming Championships.

Instead, the 20-year-old is packing his bags and returning to New Zealand to wait until next year.

Radford was the best of the New Zealand men in the Australian Open Water Championships held near Sydney yesterday.

He finished in seventh place on 1:55.58 (won by Beijing Olympian Ky Hurst in 1:55.04) in the men's 10km swim.

New Zealand swimmers had to finish in the top four or within 20 seconds of the winner to qualify for the world championships.

In the 5km swim Radford was first but it is little consolation because Swimming New Zealand don't send a swimmer for this event to the World Champs.

Radford was philosophical about it.

"If I was an Australian my time would be fast enough for me to go to the worlds for the 5km. But that's just the way it is. It means I'll just have to come home and work on it for next year.

"My goal is to qualify for the Olympics and that's what I'll do. I'll come home, work hard and have another go."

During the 10km swim Radford was looking strong and in the lead bunch. Then in the last 1.5km, Hurst made a break.

Radford told The Daily Post he was boxed in.

"That's swimming - you can be racing well and feel strong but if you're not in the right place at the right time, there's nothing you can do."

New Zealander Cara Baker finished runner-up in the champs.

Baker, who is based in Queensland, has taken the first step towards her dream of the London Olympics.

She finished provisionally inside the qualifying process for July's world championships in Shanghai where the top-10 finishers will earn direction selection for London.

The 2009 world champion Melissa Gorman dominated the 10km women's race, winning by nearly five minutes in a solo display.

Baker emerged in a four-strong chase group, asserting her control over the final kilometre to claim second in 2:03.55.

Swimming New Zealand Open Water manager Phillip Rush said Baker impressed, although she swam conservatively with the vital world championship selection at stake.

"Cara wanted to make sure she qualified for Shanghai and probably swam within herself.

I really believe, if she puts in the hard work in the next couple of months, that she has the potential to finish in the top-10 at the world championships," Rush said.

"Gorman's swim today was world class and she will be the likely gold medal favourite for Shanghai. And if Cara swims to her potential, she can match Gorman's speed."

RESULTS:

Women: Melissa Gorman (QLD) 1:59.03, 1; Cara Baker (NZL) 2:03.55, 2; Danielle DeFrancesco (QLD) 2:04.02, 3. Also Bridget Maher (NZL) 2:19.40, 11.

Men: Ky Hurst (QLD) 1:55.04, 1; Rhys Mainstone (QLD) 1:55.05, 2; Trent Grimsey (QLD) 1:55.10, 3.

New Zealanders: Kane Radford 1:55.58, 7; Phillip Ryan 1:57.44, 13; Casey Glover 1:59.48, 14; Jon Pullon 2:02.13, 19; Andrew Pullon 2:09.26, 24.