Sunday, March 29, 2009

Doing The Ilchenko in Mt Maunganui

Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko is well-known for winning races in dramatic fashion at the very end. We call her classic open water move, The Ilchenko.

Australian David Browne (see photo on left) pulled The Ilchenko on Kane Radford at the 2.8K Sand to Surf, Mt Maunganui Swim, the fourth of five races on the Sovereign New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.

With nearly perfect conditions and out in front of the other 697 swimmers, David and Kane battled it out mano-a-mano throughout the entire race before David did The Ilchenko less than 200 meters from the beach finish to defeat Kane. "David just swam a brilliant race, he was never far from my hip or my toes and just had a little bit more at the end to out run me up the beach. It was a great race though, tight all the way and a case of waiting, waiting, waiting to see who would move first. Coming down the stretch I went a little left, David a little right and he just nudged me to the beach," said the gracious Kane.

David explained his strategy, "I knew I had to wear him down, he is such a strong swimmer and swam so well in Aussie at our nationals a month back. It was toe to toe, stroke for stroke, we both started fast to drop some of the pool swimmers and then I just found something to bring it home. Over the final few hundred meters, we both hammered it, this was a great race to win."

The women's race was also tactical with Charlotte Webby beating established star Kate Brookes-Peterson and finishing eighth overall. "I sat with [Kate] early, but when she put her foot down, she opened up a gap of about 100 meters and there was little I could do. But around the back i made some great ground through good navigation and sensed my chance. I went straight and that proved the difference, I'm delighted."

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