We had a chance to catch up with New Zealand’s Kane Radford following today’s 10K championship race in Barcelona. Kane gives us an insiders perspective on what it was like during the race.
66 Men stood on the starting potton for the start of what some may call the best collection of open water swimmers ever seen at an open water race ever. Each man stood shoulder to shoulder tightly squeezed into a small start line waiting for the minutes to count down for the gun to go and the sprint for the first 400 mths to start.
It was a given that the start was always going to be rough. I drew number 23 on the starting pontoon so it was all about staying out of trouble relaxing and slowly getting into the grove of the race. The course was an exciting concept different to normal 10k races it had 8 buoy turns in each 2.5 k circuit with no more than 600m between each buoy turn. With the buoy turns tight the main pack of around 45 grown men had to fight for their position to dominate as it was so close together there was a consistent change of positions within the pack and also the lead was changing all the time.This in turn made the race a lot more physical than normal as people were constantly fighting for a better position leading into each buoy turn. The water conditions were fantastic flat and around 24 degrees remember this race is being held in the inner harbour of barcelona one of the most beautiful cities in Europe .The water quality was marginal at one part of the course near the start.The sitting for this race could not have been better as the fans had the chance to walk around the whole course to watch every stroke of the race. It is very clear to see that open water is definitely a growing sport with one of the biggest crowds I have ever had the privilege to swim in front of.
As the race laps continued and the pace increased I was felling good keeping out of trouble and conserving as much energy as possible so I was ready for the final 1500 m sprint. All we feeding each lap or every second lap and most of us had gels tucked in our togs. Mellouli was controlling the race so I had decided to sit on his hip and feet where possible as he is the current Olympic champ and had also won the 5k 2 days earlier. As we reached the last lap the pace increased as some swimmers stopped for food I could feel my heart rate rising as my store rate increased. With 1200 m to go the Greek swimmer Spyridon had a break Thomas Lurz and Mellouli all went the rest of us were left to fight it out for the rest of the positions .I finished 20th disappointed with the time but there was only 30 seconds from 1 to 20 and only 6 of the top 20 had also raced the 5 k 2 days earlier. This is a 4 year project and every swim I am learning a lot about what Kane Radford needs to do to get to the top of the open water world.