Bella Brings it Home for the Hunter

The stand-out story from the Hunter clubs at this weekend’s NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships was the Cooks Hill continued run of success at Swansea Belmont SLSC.

Stunning performances from Bella Williams in the Under 14 female division capped off wins across the weekend for the club’s contingent, putting them in fourth place in the overall pointscore.

The Cooks Hill girls walked away with seconds in the surf teams and board relay races, then Bella blitzed the field with solid wins in the U14 Board and Ironwoman races.

Knocking off the race favourite and title holder Piper Harrison from Manly in the Ironwoman was a great effort in tricky conditions.

“It’s been very tough conditions at Swansea this weekend, with the shore dump and potholes running in to the water. I did not expect to win, I was really wanting to win and just went in with my head high,” said Bella.

With the main local competition in the Hunter being her own club mates and Swansea competitor, Eliza Johnson, Bella was particularly wary of the athletes from bigger clubs.

“The Sydney branches are so so strong, I was just really nervous,” she said. After a tight swim leg in the Ironwoman, Bella broke through on the board, managing to get over a set of waves which stopped the rest of the pack in their tracks, giving her a healthy lead.

Bella and team mates train with Wayne Whiteman in a joint Hunter squad which includes Swansea Belmont, Stockton and Fingal competitors. “We call it Wayne’s World of Surf Sports,” says Bella.

She also looks up to athletes like champion ironwoman Georgia Miller from Newport, who will be competing at the Opens event next weekend when Bella joins with an U15 club mate in some events.

“I love Georgia Miller, I met her at a NSW development camp. Listening to her speak, I said that’s what I really want to do, to be like her, and I’ve put my mind to it.”

With Georgia at Swansea next weekend to cheer her on, the young athlete could produce more memorable performances for her club.

Caption: Bella Williams and Freya Konetschnik

Sun 5 Mar 2017