Manly Crowned Age Champions

In an exciting final day of competition at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships Manly streaked ahead to claim their eighth straight title, but they didn’t have it all their own way with a number of memorable performances on display at Blacksmiths Beach on Sunday.

Bate Bay rivals Wanda and Elouera claimed second and third overall with Cooks Hill finishing two points back in fourth. Hosts Swansea Belmont ended the Championship in fifth position which was an excellent result for the home side.

Day 3 more popularly known as “finals day” dawned with the best conditions of the Championships and the eager young Nippers were certainly keen for competition to begin.

The last day of the Age Championships commenced with the traditional March Past event and it was Manly LSC which won the first gold medal of the day finishing just ahead of North Bondi and Caves Beach.

Attention then switched to the ClubsNSW Beach Arena for the keenly anticipated Sprint Finals. After battling the climatic conditions and their opponents on Saturday just to qualify there was no one happier than the athletes themselves when the wind dropped by the time the starting pistol fired.

Holly Sheldrick from North Wollongong won the opening final in the U9s earning her first state medal in the process as did Tahj Hamilton from Terrigal in the U9s.

Gold medals in the U10 Beach Sprint were awarded to Keira Vincent (Wanda SLSC), and Addison Ramirez, while Manly’s Nina van der Reyden picked up her second individual gold medal of the championships taking out the U11 Sprint/Flags double. Artie Leiper (Queenscliff) narrowly missed a medal on the opening day of competition in the U11 Male Flags but more than made up for it when he sprinted to gold.

In the U12 age group Maroubra’s Giorgi Parkes took out the female sprint while Malikye Kessie (South Maroubra) might need to build a new trophy cabinet after claiming the Sprint/Flag double.

Sawtell’s Hayley Fischer claimed gold in the U13s as did Max Geronimo who stormed his way to his first state title.

Lining up for their final race in their Nipper careers both U14 finals were tipped to be one of the races of the carnival and it didn’t disappoint. April Druery (Elouera) had to wait several minutes but after the judges conferred she was declared the winner by a nose ahead of Nowra’s Holly Abbey.

It was the small club’s chance to the shine in the U14 Male Final with Bellambi’s Brandon Morkos powering home to win ahead of Aiden Helu (Manly) and Bateman Bay’s Geordie Kemp.

“I’m delighted to get that win as it’s a great way to end my time in juniors. Now it’s time to move on and come back next year I can hopefully get that gold again. It was a good race for the smaller clubs (getting 1 and 3) and shows that we can match it with our bigger rivals,” said Brandon Morkos.

“I was actually pretty nervous before that race with the rain starting to come down but it disappeared right before the start so that was good. It was a good track to run on as it’s copped a lot of rain over the last few days.”

It was a busy day in the water too with finals contested across the disciplines of Board, Swim, and Iron.

In the Board Race Lilly Finati (Bronte) defeated Olissa Onley (Cudgen Headland) in the U13s while Sawtell’s Aiden Blaxland enjoyed success in the Male Race. There was plenty to smile about for host’s Swansea Belmont in the U14 Board Race with Nicholas Stoddart claiming the gold medal and Saxon Coates earning bronze on the podium.

In the Swim races Redhead’s Zara Foran won the U11s while Manly Twins Mitchell and Jake Morris claimed gold and silver respectively in the U12s. Piper – Lily Walker from Avoca Beach won her final race as a Nipper in the U14s.

The Iron events were fiercely contested across all age groups with the athletes having to show great skill in order to overcome the inconsistent swell.

After earlier winning gold in the Swim and Board races, Fletcher Warn (Wanda) led from start to finish capping off a dream day in the U11 water events.

“I’m stoked to get the win – I wasn’t happy because I didn’t get a good start so I dived under the waves. I couldn’t see the cans in that first leg but once I got to them it was fine, but was definitely hoping for a wave on the way back in,” he said.

Georgina Prowse (North Curl Curl U11s), Kimberly Doyle (Manly U12s) Jodie Louw (Newport U13s) and Bella Williams (Cooks Hill U14s) were the victorious Ironwomen.

While in the men’s Jake Morris (Manly U12), Joel Piper (Newport U13s), and Riley Dixon (Wanda U14s) joined Warn as Ironman winners.

There was a team emphasis to round down the competition as thousands of spectators gathered on the sand to cheer home the Cameron Relay competitors.

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

For a full list of results from the 2017 Surf Life Saving NSW Age Championships please Click Here

NSW Age Championships Overall Points

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

Sun 5 Mar 2017