Swimming: Radford victorious in hometown Blue Lake race

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Kane Radford exits the lake first on his way to winning Sunday's Legend of the Lake at the Blue Lake, Rotorua. Photo / Simon Watts
Kane Radford exits the lake first on his way to winning Sunday's Legend of the Lake at the Blue Lake, Rotorua. Photo / Simon Watts

The New Zealand Ocean Swim Series has successfully taken ocean swimming into the fresh water with the first lake swim of the Series taking place at the Blue Lake, Rotorua on Sunday.

The inaugural Legend of the Lake event crowned Rotorua local, Kane Radford and Stefannie Gillespie as the male and female overall winners in the 3.5km event, and hosted more than 1100 participants who also took the plunge across multiple swim distances.

Kane and Stefannie finished the 3.5km swim in a time of 37.45 minutes and 40.03 minutes respectively.

Other top performers in the 3.5km "I'm Going Long" swim included Phillip Ryan, Charlotte Webby, Liam Thomson and Claudia Ashby, who finished second and third in their male and female age groups, respectively.

All 3.5km place getters received one of a kind, locally sourced and carved, wooden trophies, courtesy of local businesses, Donelley Sawmillers and Abodo.

They were also presented their unique awards on the latest edition to the series, the specially crafted, locally sourced and designed, wooden, winner's podium, also courtesy of Donelley Sawmillers and Abodo.

New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, Event Organiser, Scott Rice, says; "It's been history in the making for these two top winners today, having won our first ever Legend of the Lake swim. It was a tight win for both winners and a surprise win for Stefannie, who just managed to pip multi New Zealand record holder, and previous series' winner, Charlotte Webby at the post."

Other distances at the event included; the 300m 'Give it A Go' distance, the 1km "Step It Up" distance, the 300m tag team relay and for youngsters (under 14 years of age) the 200m "OceanKids" event.

Today also marks the announcement of the six newest members in the Jetstar Super Swim Squad. This special squad is made up of the talented youngsters (aged 7-13 years) who win their age group in the OceanKids 200m events from throughout the season and involves attendance at an end of season training camp in Auckland with top NZ swimmers and coaches.

The new Jetstar Super Swim Squad members had their medals be presented to them by Charlotte Webby, Penny Hayes and Stefannie Gillespie, who have all previously won the "I'm Going Long" swim.

The Legend of the Lake swim is the fourth event in this much loved series, which caters for swimmers of all skill sets and offers an opportunity for recreational swimmers to take the plunge with some top name swimming elites.

There are still two remaining events left in the 10th season of the NZ Ocean Swim Series, including fan-favourites the Sand to Surf (Mt Maunganui) on Saturday, March 12 and the King of the Bays (Auckland) on Saturday, April 2.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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