It’s Not Just About the Medals

Only days after the culmination of the surf sport season for another year, some amazing stories of sportsmanship and camaraderie continue to emerge, especially among some of our young NSW athletes.

NSW clubs and athletes enjoyed great success at the recent NSW Surf Life Saving Championships and many backed this up at the Aussies, not just in terms of podium finishes but also in the way athletes interacted with one another, supported each other and were great ambassadors for their clubs and the state.

At the inaugural Australian Youth Championships which kicked off the Aussies program this year, a special spirit of competition emerged among many competitors in the Under 15 male beach events. A number of young athletes from the Hunter and Illawarra Branches impressed spectators with their maturity and respect for each other during the competition.

Trish Kuczynski from Caves Beach SLSC, mother of gold medallist in the Beach Flags, Lawson Christiansen, couldn’t believe the incredible support the boys offered each other throughout the Under 15 beach events.

“What I saw was bigger than my son’s achievements,” said the proud parent.

“To see these boys greet each other with such enthusiasm and friendship even though they are fierce rivals in competition, shows what an incredible environment our boys are participating in,” said Trish.

Lawson’s main rivals are also his friends, Adam Newey and Brock Scrivener from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park and Liam Kelly from Fingal Bay, who are all former NSW champions.

Since joining Surf Life Saving just three years ago, Lawson has developed into an outstanding athlete, finishing this season with three gold and a silver medal from State and Aussies.

Mrs Kuczynski has watched from the sidelines and has been overwhelmed by the attitude of her son and his NSW compatriots.

“I have seen first-hand the growing respect, friendship and revere these boys show for each other at local, Branch and State carnival levels,” said Trish.

“At Aussies, the boys were a welcoming and calming distraction for all athletes who competed, with our boys shaking hands and wishing their interstate rivals well at every opportunity.”

Fellow Hunter Branch competitor Liam Kelly from Fingal Beach, says he and Lawson have enjoyed a friendly rivalry for the last few years, but neither was prepared for the buzz and excitement of competing at the Australian Youth Championships on the Gold Coast.

“Both Lawson and I were picked for the Interbranch team this year which strengthened our relationship as it was a new experience for us both and one we were lucky to undertake together,” said Liam Kelly.

“The atmosphere at Aussies was like no carnival I have ever attended! The sheer scale and significance of the event was quite confronting when I first arrived. The energy levels were high and the competition was fantastic.”

Lawson’s mum Trish said she even witnessed some of this spirit of competition rub off onto the parents, with Queensland supporters cheering on all competitors, not just their own teenagers.

“All our youngsters should be commended for their support for each other throughout the competition, regardless of what Surf Life Saving Club they were from, or what level they reached in the heats and finals,” said Trish.

“Surf Life Saving builds not only champion athletes, but true ambassadors for the sport and we are so proud to have seen it in action this year.”

Pic: Lawson Christiansen from Caves Beach SLSC wins the U15 Beach Flags at the Australian Youth Championships. Photo credit Harvpix.

Fri 24 Apr 2015