New Zealand open water champion swimmer Kane Radford will be seeking redemption in Canterbury on Sunday in round four of the State Ocean Swim Series.

After missing the final buoy and blowing his chance at victory in Wellington last month, Radford faces a must-win opportunity at the La Grande Swim in Akaroa to claw his way up the overall points table.

"I know that in order to win the series I'm going to have to win three of the races," he said. "I'm well aware of that but, at the end of the day, it's really just about getting out there and gaining more experience in open water."

Radford dearly wants to win the series as he prepares for June's all-important final Olympic qualifying event in the 10km open water swim in Portugal.


Standing in his way this weekend is a competitive lineup of elite men, including series leader and Paihia Classic winner Stefan Talbot, Cook Strait record holder Casey Glover, Hamiltonian Andrew Pullon and local boy Henry Norris.

"I'm definitely looking to win, as I always am when I go into these races but, in saying that, everyone who is going to be down there is a quality swimmer and on their day could have a great day. You just never know," Radford said.

In the absence of Olympian Melissa Gorman (Australia) and New Zealand champion Cara Baker, the elite women's field is wide open.

This event will mark, almost to the day, the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the Canterbury region.

Event director Scott Rice said it will be an emotional time for all New Zealand, especially the people of Christchurch, and felt it was important to provide a way for people to come together and share a fun day out.

"It's a real privilege to still be hosting an event in Canterbury for the first time since the earthquakes," he said. "We understand that for many people it is still a day by day struggle so any form of escapism or entertainment we can provide will hopefully be well received."

La Grande Swim organisers have arranged for a 50 per cent discounted entry fee for anyone living in the Canterbury region.

Around 800 swimmers are expected to take part in Sunday's event in four race distances, the 2.8km swim, two middle distance options of 1000m and 300m, and a well supervised kid's race of 200m.