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