NSW Junior Surf Champs Conclude

Braving far from ideal conditions, around 4000 nippers took part in the 2013 Allphones NSW Surf Life Saving Championships with reigning champions Manly coming out on top once again*.

Surf Life Saving NSW President Tony Haven said this afternoon, “While we didn’t have the opportunity to complete all events, those who competed and were placegetters were certainly deserving of their result, particularly given the trying conditions.

“I’d personally like to thank our officials, organising committee and club working parties for the outstanding job they did in very difficult circumstances.

“The safety of our juniors was our number one priority and this meant tough decisions, split venues, program changes and sometimes lengthy waits for families in the rain and cold wind. I’d also like to thank the competitors and parents for their patience and understanding of the necessary amendments,” added the President.

Up and coming superstar Callum Lowe-Griffiths from Queenscliff SLSC, turned heads when he secured gold in the under 14 ironman, surf swim, board relay and surf teams and collected bronze in the cameron relay, saying it made battling the conditions all worth it.

Showing no signs of tiredness, the tall under 14 now has a few days to go back to school before he returns to Ocean Beach-Umina for next week’s open competition starting Friday 8 March through to Sunday.

Swansea Belmont SLSC nippers absolutely dominated the water in both individual and team events. A beaming Zach Morris was declared the Under 11 Ironman while his twin brothers Jake and Mitchell showed their skills to take out the gold and silver in the U8 wade. Swansea kids were also successful in the U9 girls and U9 boys board relay winning gold in both events. Erin Pettit proved too good for the quality line-up in the U9 surf and board race while Beau McGregor went on to win the individual U9 surf and board race and U9 surf team.

Narrowly missing out on top place for the second year in a row, was Avoca Beach SLSC, just six points behind Manly.

The Flaherty family, who moved to the coast in 2005, had by the end of the first day of competition collected three gold medals, Owen Flaherty winning the under 10 boys beach sprint beating Manly’s Tyler Sully and Sam Braun from Bronte, and part of the all age beach relay winning combination.

Older brother Finn collected gold in the under 12 board relay conducted at Terrigal, which was opened up as part of a safe contingency plan based on the atrocious weather and sea state at Ocean Beach-Umina.

In extremely wet and windy conditions, blonde-haired Grace Hewitt from Fingal SLSC stood out right from the first heat in the under 9 girls beach sprint and went from strength to strength to take out the elusive gold from a tough field. Hewitt was thrilled with her victory saying, “That was pretty exciting! I was very, very nervous. I really like racing in these conditions because it pushes me harder.”

A number of competitors did host club Umina proud, including under 13 superstar Mimosa Henderson, who convincingly took out the board race in very trying conditions.

“Winning was a bit of a surprise, the conditions were very messy, but I have been training very hard for this event. I didn’t really have the home advantage today because the conditions were so wild,” said Henderson.

Mimosa edged out close friend and fellow waterpolo teammate Jazmyn Rodwell from Terrigal, who secured the silver.

Mon 4 Mar 2013