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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Radford, Gorman From Down Under Come Up On Top

Melissa Gorman from Australia and Kane Radford from New Zealand may have not realized their Olympic dreams in London, but they both have 10,000 reasons to believe their future remains bright as a result of today's world-class performances in northern California.

Gorman and Radford defended their titles at the 2012 RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco Bay today over a star-studded field.

Like every year, the race was fast and the best line to the finish was unknown until the race was at least halfway done. But Gorman with a navigational IQ that is off the charts held off Christine Jennings and the rest of the field elite swimmers from all over the world (Becca Mann, Emily Brunemann, Ashley Twichell, Luane Rowe, Brooke Lorentzen, and Beatrice Eisel).

Gorman, who is a major player on the Australian ocean swim series and the 2010 world 5km champion, knows how to position herself well at the start and mid-race among a mixed-gender field. As she darted among the top men, she set herself up by mid-channel to collect once again on the US$10,000 cash prize. "I saw her and know where she was," recalled Jennings. "There are always surges in the race and sometimes you move ahead or drop back." But it was Gorman's day again in the state of California to shine like a star.

On the men's side, Radford similarly reminded the elite echelon of the marathon swimming world that he has the speed, savvy and stamina to be a factor throughout the 2106 Rio Olympics. He mixed it up in the beginning with the likes of Rhys Mainstone, Alexander Studzinski, Michael Klueh, Eric Nilsson, Michael Sheil, David Heron, Aimeson King, Evgeny Bezruchenko, Codie and Ridge Grimsey, and Vincent Donelly. Shoulder-to-shoulder at the start, the men looked and acted like charging bulls at the start.

But at the end, Radford was the first man standing. With goals yet unfulfilled, he will make his second US$10,000 award go a long way. His aim is to continue the victorious momentum on the FINA World Cup circuit and the sport's increasing number of short invitational pro races.

While race director Bob Placak brings in the stars to the quaint bayside village of Tiburon (meaning shark in Spanish), only the top man and woman return home with a large cash award. However, his greater legacy is the large amount of money that he raises (over US$1,000,000 to date) and the smiles he brings to the 800+ participants in the annual 1.2 nautical mile race from Angel Island to the shores of Tiburon.

"One day, I told my wife that I wanted to create a race her in my hometown in Tiburon," said the two-time Pan American Games butterfly gold medalist. "I have been doing open water swimming for a long time now and I wanted a race in Tiburon to be world-class in every way. I looked over at Angel Island and thought 'Now that would be a great swim from the island to Tiburon.' We worked and planned and we got some great swimmers to help kick-off our swim in the early years. 3-time Olympic gold medalist Brooke Bennett was a star in those days." From bringing in the top pool and open water swimmers in the world, treating them well and raising money for good local causes to providing a safe, competitive race for people of all abilities, Placak got the formula right.

And so did Gorman and Radford for the second year in a row.

Top 25 results:

1. Kane Radford 21:43
2. Ridge Grimsey, 21:45
3. Melissa Gorman, 21:46
4. Codie Grimsey, 21:47
5. Michael Sheil, 21:49
6. Michael Klueh, 21:49
7. Rhys Mainstone, 21:49
8. Christine Jennings, 21:51
9. Aimeson King Victoria, 21:52
10. Alexander Studzinsky, 21:55
11. Ashley Twichell, 22:09
12. Becca Mann, 22:09
13. David Heron, 22:16
14. Emily Brunemann, 22:19
15. Adam Hinshaw, 22:31
16. Brooke Lorentzen, 22:32
17. Eric Nilsson, 22:48
18. Luane Rowe, 22:57
19. Alexander Wold, 23:03
20. Sam Shimomura, 23:34
21. Catherine Breed, 23:38
22. Ben Hinshaw, 23:41
23. Russell Payne, 23:42
24. Josh Prenet, 23:43
25. Michael Haney, 23:45

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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