Big Medal Haul For Hunter Nippers At Age Champs

It was a successful weekend for the Hunter’s best Nipper competitors as they braved the conditions at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships held at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea.

While Sydney rivals Manly, Wanda and Elouera claimed the top 3 positions on the ladder, local clubs led by Cooks Hill (4th spot) and hosts Swansea Belmont (5th) took full advantage of their inside knowledge of the conditions to finish with some sensational results during the competition.

After their strong performance at last year’s State Championships in Umina, Cooks Hill was confident of a repeat performance which they achieved finishing the competition with 9 gold medals.

In the U11s Tiana Sargeant won gold medals in the Surf Team, Board Rescue, and Board Relay Races along with a silver in the Ironwoman contest, while Bella Williams competing in her final junior competition took out gold in the U14 Ironwoman and Board Event and then joined her teammates to place second in the U14 Surf Teams and Board Relay.

The Ironwoman Race was a personal highlight for Williams who showed great skill to down defending champion Piper Harrison from Manly.

“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, although I really wanted it and just went in with my head high,” she said.

Hosts Swansea Belmont had a carnival to remember finishing with 7 gold medals. Nicholas Stoddart claimed gold in the U14 Board Race and Mixed Cameron Relay Teams before joining forces with teammates Asby Allen, Saxon Coates, and Ben Rees in the Swim Team Race to claim his third gold of the weekend.

The Swansea U10 Board Relay boys beat all-comers to take home the gold while Ty Leadbeatter (U11) picked up an individual gold medal in the 1KM Beach Run.

Other Hunter clubs who enjoyed a successful weekend included Fingal Beach SLSC who picked up two gold medals courtesy of William Clark (U12 Male Beach Run) and Xavier Stewart (U10 Male Flags).

Redhead’s Zara Foran picked up a gold medal in the U11 Female Swim and a bronze in Board Race while her club mates in the U10 Surf Teams event finished just outside the medals in their final.

Stockton’s Percy Sinclair ended his championships with a silver medal after a strong performance in the U11 Surf Race. Jai Callaghan (Catherine Hill Bay) was another athlete to just miss the medals when he finished 4th in the U10 Male Flags.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite the challenges of the weather and the conditions it was a highly successful competition for the young athletes.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful State Age Championships. It was certainly played in the right spirit, and all the Nippers, their families, and their clubs can look back with pride on what has been a fantastic surf sport season.

“Some of our older Nipper competitors will now go on to get their first taste of national level racing at next month’s Australian Championships while our younger ones can look forward to an exciting finish with their club season,” Mr Pidgeon said.

2017 Age Championship Club Point Score:

• Manly LSC 349
• Wanda SLSC 201
• Elouera SLSC 194
• Cooks Hill SLSC 192
• Swansea Belmont SLSC 135
• North Curl Curl SLSC 107
• North Bondi SLSC 94
• Coogee SLSC 94
• Cronulla SLSC 90
• South Maroubra SLSC 89

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships, proudly supported by Your local club continues at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea on Wednesday 8 March with the opening day of the Masters Competition.

Photograph - Nick Stoddart (Swansea Belmont) was in top form for the hosts at the 2017 NSW Age Championships. Credit Stephen Chu

Wed 8 Mar 2017