Southern Athletes Shine At Interbranch

Solid Performances from South and Far South Coast surf lifesavers at the 2016 NSW Interbranch Championships on the NSW Central Coast proved that they can more match it with the state’s best and that there are plenty of encouraging signs for the future of surf sport in the region.

Last weekend, South Coast put in an inspired performance to finish seventh overall while Far South Coast fielded one of their strongest teams in recent years to claim tenth place.

At the top of the leader board, Sydney ended rival’s Sydney Northern Beaches two-year grip on the trophy, while hosts Central Coast cemented third place with an outstanding effort in the team events on Sunday to hold off a fast finishing Hunter.

Mollymook’s Keegan Norwood was the sole South Coast athlete to finish on top of the podium with the U15s beach athlete winning the Sprint and was just missed out on the medals in the flags finishing a highly competitive fifth.

Younger siblings Stirling Norwood (Mollymook) and Eilish Norwood (Nowra-Culburra) also did their Branch proud securing fourth place in the U12 Beach Flags and third in the U14 Beach Sprint respectively.

It was left to older member of Mollymook SLSC, Steine Lofts to try and earn his branch another spot on the podium, and his solid shift on the sand resulted in a third place in the Open Flags and fifth spot in the Open Sprint.

“I’m one of the older athletes now so I’m just happy to be keeping up with the younger beachies,” Steine Lofts said.

The most all round South Coast athlete of the Championships was Matthew Sperring from Warilla-Barrack Point who finished an agonising second in the Youth Ironman and had multiple top five finishes in team and individual events, but couldn’t quite claim that elusive first spot on the results sheet.

“This weekend has been a real eye opener for the juniors and first timers, and our seniors have been really good looking after them,” said South Coast Team Manager Dana Richards.

Far South Coast performed exceptionally well on the sand led by Geordie Kemp (Batemans Bay) who finished second and fourth in the U14 Male Beach Flags and Sprint.

The results continued on the beach track with Jindabyne’s Patrick Broe sealing third spot in the U12 Sprint. Also in the U12’s, Kailey Jorgensen (Narooma) narrowly missed out on a podium position in fourth.

Tathra athletes Luella Boulton and Nimmitty Ford both executed their events well with sixth in the U14 Female Beach Sprint and securing fifth position in the Youth Female Beach Flags respectively.

“The kids have done really well this year. The one thing we asked them to do was to give their best and they’ve done that so we’re very happy,” said Far South Coast Coach Andrew Holt.

“The best thing about this year is a lot of the older kids have taken on a leadership role so the younger kids feel like they’re really part of the team.”

The 2017 NSW Interbranch Championships will be held at Stockton SLSC on 9 and 10 December which was announced at the presentation ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Full list of results and photos at www.surflifesaving.com.au/interbranch.

Photo: Open Sprinter Steine Lofts (South Coast).

Tue 13 Dec 2016