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The start of something extraordinary

Kiwi swimmers seal selection for Pan Pacific Championships

Rotorua swimmer Kane Radford has cemented his place in the New Zealand team for the Pan Pacific Championships.

Radford, 23, has finished fourth in the prestigious BHP Billiton Aqua Super Series meet in Perth at the weekend which attracted some of the best open water swimmers in the world.

The 10km race in the Swam River was won by London Olympian Jarrod Poort in 1:54.16 from fellow World Championship representative Simon Huitenga who was just four seconds behind.

Radford (1:54.25) was nine seconds behind the winner in fourth behind his Perth-based Uniswim training partner Rhys Mainstone but ahead of American Alex Meyer and South African champion Troyden Prinsloo, who was 12th at the London Olympics.

Radford, who won the national and Oceania titles in Taupo last month, earned A$5000 for his efforts.

Of the other New Zealanders in the field, Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Auckland) was eighth in 1:55:24, Troy Balvert (St Peters) 11th in 1:57:06 and Liam Albery (Capital) 13th in 1:57:07.

Albery’s placing secured a place for him in the team for Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii at the end of August.

Charlotte Webby (Taranaki) was the best of the Kiwis in the women’s race, finishing eighth in 2:06:03 while Grace Sommerville (Ashburton ) was 12th in 2:12:21.

Webby met the qualifying criteria for selection for the Pan Pacific Championships and Sommerville has qualified for the Junior Pan Pacs.

The women’s race was dominated by Ashley Twichell (USA), the 2011 5km world champion, who won in 2:03:51. The American finished well clear of compatriot Haley Anderson, the Olympic silver medallist, who clocked 2:04:17 to pip leading Australian Chelsea Gubecka.

The Pan Pacific Championships, comprising top level teams from USA, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and the rest of the Pacific, is on the Gold Coast on 21-25 August.