Kane Radford
Open water swimmer
Age: 25
First Olympics

You missed selection, launched an appeal and now are on the plane to Rio. It must have been quite an emotional roller coaster for you.

It's been the hardest few weeks of my career. It was difficult to miss out, really tough. I tried to keep training as much as possible and all the people around me were saying, 'Keep going, there is a chance'. It turned out there was.

In a single race you will swim a greater distance than many people do in a lifetime. How do you train for that?


I do 70-80km a week in the pool - 10 sessions of two hours each. It's a mental challenge more than anything, but you have to do it to be fit enough to compete. Occasionally we take all the lane ropes away and swim round the edge of the pool, so you are not getting that push off.

What about training in the open water?

Only in summer. About once a fortnight. Any other time it's too cold.

Do you worry about sharks and all those other creatures under the sea?

When you are competing, it's never a problem, as there are so many people around and commotion. Starting out, when you are out there training by yourself your mind can play tricks on you - you think you see something - but after a while you become comfortable out there.

Your event isn't the most glamorous of the swimming disciplines. What appeals?

It's tactical, it's always changing, there's no lane ropes and a lot of strategy. And the argy-bargy.

Which is?

All kinds. People tugging on your foot, an elbow in the ribs or face, or a kick in the face. Anything goes.

Is it intentional?

Usually. They are trying to distract you and get you fired up, so you lose concentration and don't focus on the race. Referees follow us closely, and issue yellow and red cards, but they can't really see what's happening under the water.

What's the longest distance you've swum?

Last year I did the Rottnest Channel Swim, which is 19.7km. It's a very famous race in Perth. It was probably too long, though, to be honest. It was like four hours in a washing machine.

How did you end up in Western Australia?

I went there three years ago, to train with one of my close friends. There was no one I could train with in New Zealand. It's worked out well.

Away from sport you're a mortgage broker. How's that going?

It's good, a nice feeling to be able to help people with the biggest financial decision of their lives. The market here [in Rotorua] is almost as crazy as Auckland, so it's pretty busy.