Rotto swim­mers put to the test

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By DENISE S. CAHILL

THE 2015 Rot­tnest Chan­nel Swim did not get off to a smooth start for win­ner Kane Rad­ford.

The New Zealan­der’s pad­dler Ryan Smith dis­lo­cated his shoul­der be­fore the race started, so Rad­ford's girl­friend Car­rie Smith and friend Molly Hig­gins had to step in.

Rad­ford, an Olympic hope­ful, was lead­ing at the 12km mark and main­tained his lead to cross the line in 4 hours 25 min­utes and 59 sec­onds, more than 14 min­utes ahead of sec­ond­placed Ni­cholas deBom­ford.

“It was re­ally choppy and some­times I won­dered if I was go­ing to make it,” a tired Rad­ford said af­ter the race.

“It was like swim­ming for four hours in a wash­ing ma­chine. It was rough out there.”

The 25th an­nual Rot­tnest Chan­nel Swim was Rad­ford's first cross­ing.

He had pre­vi­ously only com­pleted a 10km open-wa­ter race.

“It was tougher than I thought,” he said.

DeBom­ford, a 17-year-old St Mark’s Angli­can Com­mu­nity School stu­dent, said he had trained nine times a week for the past eight months to pre­pare for the 19.7km cross­ing.

Amer­i­can Grace Van de Byl was the first woman across the line, just 24 sec­onds ahead of Jamie Bowler, who won the event in 2005 and again last year as part of a duo.

“It’s my first time to Australia and the race has been on my mind for five years,” Van de Byl said. “It’s a dream to do it.” The Rokeby Den­tal team of Pa­trick Hoey, Bobby Jo­vanovich, Brody McGowan and Gregg Tid­boald was the first team across the line.

Pic­tures: Marc Finn/Finn Mo­tion Me­dia

Left: Kane Rad­ford starts his last leg to­wards the fin­ish line. Right: Fe­male win­ner Grace Van Der Byl crosses the fin­ish line at Rot­tnest Is­land.

Pic­tures: Matt Jelonek

Left: Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett pre­pares to sound the horn. Right: Some of the swim­mers tak­ing the plunge.

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