Junior March Past Goes to the Dogs

Umina SLSC brought out the big guns on the final day of the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships with their club mascot, Bailey, stealing the limelight at the March Past event.

Bailey, the five year-old Labrador, was resplendent in club cap and hi-vis rash vest for the colourful March Past ceremony, where teams are awarded points for precision and presentation using the traditional belt and reel.

It’s an event Bailey has been training for in earnest and his owner and manager, Gary Matthews, says he is now a skilled veteran of this event, with three State Championship campaigns under the collar.

A modest competitor of few words, Bailey admitted in his post-event interview that he thought he needed to work on his timing. “He was a bit nervous going into today’s event, but looking at it now, I don’t think he put a paw wrong,” said a proud Gary Matthews, a Umina SLSC life member.

As a committed surf lifesaver, Bailey keeps his skills up and trains everyday, swimming in the surf (between the flags of course) at Umina Beach to ensure he remains proficient. “His surf skills are good but he does need to work on his CPR,” said Gary.

And while Bailey hasn’t had to use those skills to conduct many real life rescues, he did save the life of a Jack Russell one time.

Even though the Umina junior March Past team ended up in 13th place in the competition, Bailey is optimistic that with a more solid training program and a proper taper into the event, the team can improve on this result when the NSW State Championships return to Ocean Beach-Umina in 2016.


Sun 8 Mar 2015