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Cara Baker made it a double double when she added the 5km title to the 10km win on Saturday at the State Insurance New Zealand Open Water Swim Championships on Lake Taupo today.
The 20 year old out-kicked a group of four swimmers in a strong performance to claim the 5km title, after a dominant effort in the 10km title on Saturday.
The Gold Coast-based Baker, who also won both 10km and 5km open water titles in Taupo last year, believes she is in good shape in her aim to qualify for the London Olympics.
“I did not taper this weekend and the performance exceeded my expectations really,” Baker said. “I think I am a better swimmer this year and definitely in better shape than at the same time last year.
“I now have a month until the Australian Championships which are the next big target and then hopefully on to the world championships where I will have a chance to qualify for London.”
New Zealanders must finish in the top four in the10km event at the Australian Championships at Penrith in March, or within 20 seconds of the winner, to seal a start at the world championships in Shanghai next July. From there, the top 10 will earn direct qualification for the London Olympics.
The women’s race saw Baker in a select group with Australian Samantha Hoschke-Edwards, her younger sister Laura Baker, brilliant Australian teen Emily Seymour and Wellington’s Georgia Hinds, younger sister of Commonwealth Games medallist Tash Hind.
They remained close until Baker turned up the accelerator in the run home to win in 1:03.58sec, with Hoschke-Edwards 11 seconds behind and Laura Baker third, on her way to claiming the 16-17 years honours while Seymour, 14, was impressive in fourth place.
The men’s race produced one of the closest finishes in many years with 4/10ths of a second separating the first four swimmers in a superb race.
Rotorua’s Kane Radford and yesterday’s 10km champion Philip Ryan (Waterhole) were the early aggressors at the front of the lead pack which remained tightly packed throughout the two laps with Dunedin’s Bryn Murphy and Waikato’s Murray Pretorius on the leaders’ feet. The trio of Casey Glover, the Gold Coast based Wellingtonian, Brisbane’s Joshua Richardson and Howick Pakuranga’s Stefan Talbot formed just behind the leading quartet.
Radford led out in the sprint home over the final 200m but it was the pool pace of Murphy that won out in the frantic slap to touch the timing banner, winning in 1hour 00minutes 14.29 seconds. Radford, who had played such a significant part in the exciting race, was just 4/100ths of a second behind with Ryan third 3/10ths of a second behind the winner.
“It was an outstanding race and they really took it to each other,” said Philip Rush, Swimming New Zealand National open Water Coach. “That was very impressive and aggressive swimming from the guys.
“It is the type of swimming they will need to produce over the 10kms at the Australian Championships. If they do, then i would not be surprised if we can get two men to the world championships.
“Cara Baker was again classy today and is really developing into a world class open water swimmer.
“We are also starting to see some depth, particularly in the men, which is exciting for the future.”
Brisbane’s Joshua Richardson held off Howick Pakuranga’s Stefan Talbot to win the 16-17 years title with Masterton’s Isaac Foote third. There was also an impressive effort from world champion paralympic swimmer Brenden Hall, who was 14th overall today and sixth in the 16-17 years honours.
Results, State Insurance NZ 5km Open Water Championships:
Male Open: Bryn Murphy (Waves, Dunedin) 1:00.14.29, 1; Kane Radford (Rotorua) 1:00.14.33, 2; Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Auckland) 1:00.14.62, 3; Murray Pretorius (St Peters, Waikato) 1:00.14.83, 4; Casey Glover (Capital, Wellington) 1:00.18.22, 5.
16-17 years: Joshua Richardson (Australia) 1:00.18.27, 1; Stefan Talbot (Howick Pakuranga) 1:00.18.45, 2; Isaac Foote (Masterton) 1:00.29.27, 3; Evan Wilson (St Peters) 1:01.02.97, 4; Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) 1:01.57.35, 5.
13-15 years: Michael Mincham (Waterhole) 1:02.00.53, 1; Ben Ruback (Masterton) 1:05.42, 91, 2; Cameron Blair (Kiwi West, Manawatu) 1:08.22.95, 3.
Female, Open: Cara Baker (Howick Pakuranga) 1:03.58.30, 1; Samantha Hoschke Edwards (Brisbane) 1:04.09.45, 2; Laura Baker (Howick Pakuranga) 1:04.36.30, 3; Emily Seymour (Brisbane) 1:04.36.58, 4; Georgia Hind (Capital) 1:05.09.16, 5.
16-17: Laura Baker 1, Rebecca Roling (Rotorua) 1:10.15.01, 2; Sophie Wotherspoon (North Shore) 1:11.15.70, 3.
13-15: Seymour 1, Grace Sommerville (Ashburton) 1:10.13.11, 2; Nicole Rosewarne (Coast, Auckland) 1:10.15.92, 3.
Full results: www.swimmingnz.org.nz