Athletes Strive At Interbranch Champs
The South and Far South Coast Branch teams showed their true colours over the weekend at Cape Hawke, exceeding expectations at the Surf Life Saving NSW Interbranch Championships.
While Sydney Northern Beaches claimed overall honours defending the title they regained last year ahead of Sydney and Central Coast, the South Coast and Far South Coast teams continue to narrow the gap over their metropolitan rivals finishing eighth and tenth respectively.
The weekend brought a number of podium finishers for the South Coast Branch with Warilla-Barrack Point’s Matthew Sperring was first past the post in the Under 17’s Surf Race and Jayden Allen came out on top in the Under 14’s Male Board.
It wasn’t just in the water where the team were performing; Steine Lofts from Mollymook SLSC was within a few centimetres of taking out the Open Male Flags, unfortunately just got beaten by Blake Drysdale from the Illawarra.
On the sprint track, Nowra-Culburra’s Holly Abbey showed her class once again coming second in the Under 13’s after injuring her back before the weekend.
“Interbranch has been fun but it was a little disappointing as I had a really sore back in the sprint and relay so I had to pull out of flags,” said Holly Abbey.
“The results for the team have been great and it’s basically a state final each race so it’s good experience for our athletes,” Head Coach Kirk Allen added.
Another key moment for the South Coast squad was the inclusion of the three Ashburner children - Keelan (Under 17’s), Kasey (Under 13’s) and Reef (Under 12’s). The Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC competitors were glad that the three of them could be together at such a big event like Interbranch.
“I love having Kasey and Reef around at competitions especially now at Interbranch, it makes the weekend a lot more fun,” said Keelan Ashburner.
Mother of three, Katie Ashburner, was very proud of their efforts over the two days of competition. “I’m really proud that they all were selected in the South Coast team and they had lots of fun - it’s great to see them with a smile on their faces,” Katie Ashburner said.
The Far South Coast Branch brought a strong team to the championships and took advantage of the new format changes, in particular the drafting process.
“Our team has been preforming well with great flag and water results and we’ve made the most of the draft which has put us in a good position,” Team Coordinator Wendy Law said. “We had no Open team so we’ve used the drafting to have those positions filled and those competitors have been doing wonderful things for us.”
The best results for the most southern branch in NSW were from drafted athlete Jackson Borg of Newport who finished third in both Open Male Ski and Ironman.
Meanwhile, the home grown athletes sent a shock through the stronger Interbranch teams finishing fourth in a number of beach events.
Grace Knox from Pambula finished fourth in the Open Flags and Sprint, Aaron Flood (Broulee) came fourth in the Under 17 Flags and Xavier Smith from Tathra SLSC continued the fourth finishers in the Under 15 Sprint.
“We only had our first Branch carnival last weekend and some clubs have only had one weekend of nippers – the water’s too cold before this time of the year,” Wendy Law added.
2015 Interbranch Championships Final Pointscore
Sydney Northern Beaches – 1242
Sydney - 1172
Central Coast – 1106
Hunter – 1014
Far North Coast – 884
Illawarra – 809
North Coast – 626
South Coast – 595
Mid North Coast – 526
Far South Coast – 438
Lower North Coast - 191
Tue 15 Dec 2015