Manly Power Ahead on Day 2 of Open Champs

Manly powered ahead of fierce rivals Newport and Wanda in the club point-score on a pulsating second day of competition at the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships.

Umina and Ocean Beaches turned on a sparkling warm autumn day with light onshore breezes, plenty of sunshine and manageable surf conditions. Toned and tanned arms swam and paddled furiously out through the surf to the turning cans for team finals and individual qualifiers on day two of the water events.

Helensburgh-Stanwell Park lived up to its reputation as a beach sprinting powerhouse with a number of sensational performances by their athletes. In fact, the women’s open final had four representatives from the club in what was easily one of the best sprinting fields of the competition.

Elly Graf (Elouera) took out the field ahead of the Helensburgh-Stanwell Park (HSP) duo of Yvette Avery and Siobhan Dibley. It was a big afternoon for Avery who also gold-medalled in a dead heat in the U17s beach sprint and the U19 beach relay.

“I’m very happy to get the win in what was a really competitive field. I haven’t been on the beach for a while so it’s great to get back into it,” Graff said after the race.

“I knew I had to get a good start and once I got that the plan was just to maintain and really capitalise on my speed throughout the race, but it wasn’t until the last couple of metres that I thought I would win.

“It was a very good track. I prefer the sand to be a little harder as it’s similar to an athletics track,” she said.

It was a win for the home branch in the U19s female beach sprint when Bianca Mould (Avoca Beach) held off Kaitlin Mott (HSP), and Renee Stortenbeker (Elouera).

“It was really fun to run out there today; they were almost perfect conditions. It wasn’t too hot and being slightly overcast actually helped a bit,” a delighted Mould said.

“It is special winning a state title in my home branch, and the plan is to keep training every day and get ready for Aussies.”

Judges couldn’t split Yvette Avery (HSP) and Sophie McGovern (North Curl Curl) in the U17s with Kate Lewis (HSP) picking up the bronze.

Both athletes were philosophical after the race, but each were adamant the other had won. “We’re very familiar with each other’s style having raced against each other for a long time,” McGovern said.

“I’m just enjoying racing on such a nice track, and now I can focus on getting in some extra training for the Aussies,” Avery added.

In the U15s Cronulla’s Phoebe La Coste timed her run to the line perfectly, claiming her first medal at a state level ahead of Ashley Dunford (Collaroy) and Lilly Bennett (Narooma).

“It’s the first time I’ve won any medal so I’m really happy,” she said.

La Coste also praised the track saying the consistency of the sand made it enjoyable to run on. In the male events, Lawson Christiansen from Caves Beach in the U15 boys sprint took home his first state gold and Collaroy’s Dean Scarff lit up the ClubsNSW Arena when he turned last year’s silver medal into gold at Umina Beach in the Open men’s sprint.

While Daniel McKellar (U19s) and Timothy Burgmann (U17s), both of Helensburgh-Stanwell Park, added to the impressive state championship medal tally for the Illawarra club.

In the water team relay highlights included Georgia Miller and Lara Moses (Newport) combining to win the open female board rescue ahead of Elouera and Cronulla, while Cameron Coghlan and Nathan Smith (Manly) held off strong challenges from Elouera and Newport in the male event.

Progressive Point-Score Day 2:

Manly LSC 253
Newport SLSC 228
Wanda SLSC 151
North Cronulla SLSC 121
Elouera SLSC 96
Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC 95
Freshwater SLSC 90
Umina SLSC 84
Collaroy SLSC 84
Cronulla SLSC 74
Avoca Beach SLSC 69 Queenscliff SLSC 69

The 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by ClubsNSW will conclude on Sunday 15 March.

Picture: Winners are grinners - Elly Graf (Elouera)and Dean Scarff (Collaroy) are all smiles after claiming the Open Beach Sprint titles on Day 2 of the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships.

Sat 14 Mar 2015