From The Surf To The Pool – Lifesavers Primed To Make A Splash

Over 250 of the state’s best surf lifesavers will trade the beach for the pool in Sydney this weekend as they battle for medals and glory at the 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Pool Rescue Championships.

The event returns to Sydney for the first time in three years with the first class facilities at Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre given hosting rights.

Pool Rescue is a highly technical sport, and is an opportunity for both patrolling lifesavers, and those who are approaching their senior nipper years to hone their skills over the colder months.

This year competitors range in age from 12 to 60, and will contest a variety of events throughout the two-day championship with 23 clubs from Brunswick in the north through to Warilla-Barrack Point in the south sending competitors.

One of the highlights of the program is the “200m Super Lifesaver” which is an event that includes a 75m freestyle swim, to recover a submerged manikin followed by 50m freestyle to secure a manikin with a rescue tube to tow to the finish line.

Other events contested are a combination of individual events such as obstacle races, manikin carry and tow, brick carry races and team relay events such as the Line Throw, 4x50m Medley Relay and the 4x25m Manikin Relay.

A number of athletes who medalled at the State and National Surf Life Saving Championships earlier this summer will be in action this weekend including North Cronulla’s Ethan Garland, and Umina’s Jemma Smith who was named Female Competitor of The Aussies in April.

Keeley Booth (Avoca Beach) and the Elouera duo of Chris King and Jake Evans are all expected to feature among the medals.

There is a slight change to the point score system in 2016 with clubs competing to win Youth, Open and Masters categories rather than an overall winner.

Defending champions Elouera SLSC are looking forward to the challenge and are bringing a strong squad of 35 competitors to the Championship.

“Our team has been training very hard and are looking forward to this year’s competition,” said Karen King Elouera team manager.

“We’ve lost a couple of people who helped us get some points last season but this has created an opportunity for our younger athletes to step up.

“Pool Rescue is a great competition and something we value at our club as it’s an opportunity for our team to build relationships right throughout the club. We’ve got a young but enthusiastic team and hopefully we can get some positive results this weekend,” said Mrs King.

NSW Lifesaving Surf Sports Coordinator Luke Stigter is confident of a successful weekend of competition.

“The Pool Rescue Championships are always closely fought and we’re very lucky to have the competition take place in what is an outstanding venue.

“One of the great things about this event is that it is an inclusive sport and that all age groups are together at the one location. We would like to wish all competitors and officials the very best of luck,” Mr Stigter concluded.

Apart from the thrill of the competing against the best from around the state, the younger competitors have plenty to compete for with a strong performance this weekend putting them on the selectors radar for a spot on the NSW Development team that will tour New Zealand later this year.

Their experienced counterparts will reset their focus on possible selection in the NSW Interstate Team as well as contesting the Australian Titles which will be contested in August.

Day One action at the 2016 NSW Pool Rescue Championships gets underway this Saturday 9 July at Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre from 7:30am AEST with the competition concluding on Sunday 10 July.

The following clubs have entered the 2016 NSW Pool Rescue Championships;

Avoca Beach SLSC
Bellambi SLSC
Bondi SLSC
Bronte SLSC
Brunswick Heads SLSC
Bulli SLSC
Byron Bay SLSC
Caves Beach SLSC
Cronulla SLSC
Elouera SLSC
Forster SLSC
Freshwater SLSC
North Cronulla SLSC
North Curl Curl SLSC
Queenscliff SLSC
Red Head SLSC
Shelly Beach SLSC
South Maroubra SLSC
Swansea-Belmont SLSC
Terrigal SLSC
Umina Beach SLSC
Wanda SLSC
Warrilla-Barrack Point SLSC

Photograph - Elouera celebrate after being crowned champions at the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Pool Rescue Championships (top) while this year's team have been training hard (below). Photos courtesy of Karen King

Thu 7 Jul 2016