Carberry and Miller Star As 2014 State Champs Conclude

The final day of the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Opens Championships culminated in dramatic fashion with some big upsets and plenty of action under perfect sunshine at Ocean Beach/Umina.

TV cameras, photographers and cheering fans lined the beach for the premiere event of the State Championships; the Open Ironman and Ironwoman races.

For just the second time in 20 years a country athlete took out the Opens Ironman with Ben Carberry from Warilla Barrack Point besting experienced ironmen and heavy favourites Nathan Smith (Manly) and Kendrick Louis (Newport). Carberry produced quite possibly the biggest surprise of the weekend to everyone on the beach but himself and his team who had faith in his abilities from the start.

“I knew I was capable of something special against these guys and it was just up to me to prove it! To battle side by side with a living legend in Nathan Smith for most of the race and to come out on top, oh man I’m just over the moon,” said an ecstatic Carberry.

Manly LSC has taken out back-to-back wins in the grand slam women’s event with superfish Georgia Miller, fresh off a gold medal in the under 19 ironwoman final, tapped into the spare tank and pulled out a comfortable victory over Bulli’s Hannah Minogue. Miller’s teammates parked right at the finish line whipped the sizeable crowd up with their noisy reception.

Just an hour earlier Miller dominated the under 19 ironwoman field, her first iron win since under 12s.

The strongest swimmer from among the open women finalists was the pacesetter right from the start of the premier event.

“I don’t know how I did it, I just stuck to what I know,” said the grinning newly-crowned ironwoman. “The swim is my strong point and being first I can rip in. I had no idea how far ahead I was, I knew Hannah would be coming at me in the ski.”

Minogue, who placed ninth in the KNG series, wanted the win but says she’s happy with second, and happy for Georgia. “I knew Georgia would be the one to beat, she has great swim legs. I just missed out last year; maybe it’ll be third time lucky next year.”

Cheering Miller on at the first changeover was mentor and teammate Naomi Flood, a former pro ironwoman and now Olympic kayaker.

With 10 gold medals and one bronze at the Central Coast carnival there is a promising future ahead for the Manly champion who is chasing around the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain qualifying series and is currently placed fifth.

Last year Manly’s Candice Falzon collected the open ironwoman state title for the strong Northern Beaches club.

Newport SLSC ended up winning the overall club pointscore this year, topping last year's title holder Manly LSC by just a few points.

Sun 9 Mar 2014