Southern Sydney Force at State Champs

Bate Bay clubs powered home over the weekend at the NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships, supported by ClubsNSW, with all four clubs finishing in the top eight. Wanda was the top performer, finishing third overall and close behind the former NSW champions, Manly.

In the Under 15s, Wanda SLSC was centre-stage, winning the Female Board Relay and Male Swim Team, while Mia Ross and Kiera Warn took out the Board Rescue and Kiera backed up to win the Ironwoman. The Wanda youngsters claimed both second and third in the Cameron Relay event.

On the beach, Cronulla’s Ngaire Hatfield won the Under 17 Sprint and Phoebe La Coste was third.

“We’ve got a new coach and a different training format, I’ve improved a lot… he’s working us hard,” said Ngaire post-race. “Eating well is key and rest is good, I’m in Year 12 as well so I have a lot of schoolwork.”

Still on the track and Chloe Mannix-Power finished with a gold in the Under 15 Female Sprint.

“My height helps in sprints but not in flags, I’m too tall for flags. I love the sprints,” said the youngster. “My season’s been good, I’m back after injury. Cronulla is dominating on the beach this year, we’ve got a new beach coach and he’s brought in so many people and we’ve been training hard.”

Mark Redrup is the club’s new beach coach and says the team is doing well.

“We are going alright, we have a few good runners. Chloe’s always been a hard worker and she does more with her athletics coach. We run four sessions a week….strength, endurance, speed, technique…and we ask the girls to do three of the four,” said Redrup.

The Under 19 team also finished first in the Female Beach Relay event.

Cronulla competitors were also all over the water events, with Emma Southwell taking out both the Under 19 Surf Race and Surf Belt Race while the Under 19 Taplin and Ski Relay teams also ended up on top.

Carla Papac and Montana Murray teamed up to win the Under 19 Double Ski title. “We only got on the double together a couple of weeks ago, just to give it a go, we’ve been paddling pretty well on the skis so they put us together,” said Papac.

“It was fantastic to take the win away as we thought we went off course at the finish. I was steering and thought the flag was on the other side. We finally realised. Now that we got that win, Aussies is going to be exciting. Hopefully we can get out more and perfect our synchronization.”

It was another dramatic finish for Papac in the Under 19 Ironwoman and it came down to who had the fastest set of legs. Carla hung on as four competitors dived at her on the finish line.

“I got a good lead in the ski leg and held it in the board. The swim is my weakest leg so I needed to push it. Emma Brown (Nth Cronulla) came through and it was a really tough run up the beach. I thought maybe I was on the wave on my own until I stood up and saw the other girls coming from the left, I tried my hardest in the run.”

Also in the water, the Nth Cronulla and Elouera boat crews took out first and second in the prestigious Open Surf Boat Relay.

Elouera competitors were equally at home in the water and on the beach with reigning Australian Beach Sprint Champion Elly Graf demonstrating why she is the best. “I’ve won the State Titles a few times in the Opens and I’m going for my sixth Aussie titles this year,” said Graf.

She also out-powered current champion beachie Katie Williams to win the Open Beach Flags. “It’s my first time winning the double, it’s a good result… I can’t complain. I’ll be at Aussies and I’ve also got track nationals, which are the Olympic trials for Rio on in three weeks.”

Graf is hoping for a spot in the 100m relay team which will be selected in June. “I’m keeping calm, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ll just give it my all. I trialed for London 2012, got fourth but they didn’t take the relay team,” she said.

Elouera’s Chris King had to work hard for his gold in the Under 17 Board, when he came from behind on a wave out the back to overtake the front-runners.

“I won the event in the Under 13s and I’ve been putting the work in at training,” said King.

He also teamed up with Jake Evans to win the Board Rescue, an event in which they usually place in the top three.

Other Sydney Branch clubs also had some outstanding results, including Nth Bondi’s Lizzie Welborn winning Silver in the Open Ironwoman after winning the Under 17 Board Race.

Olympic hopeful and surf lifesaving newcomer Jarrod Poort from Bronte was first in the Open Mixed Ocean Swim and was joined by club mates Keelan Bridge and Wallace Edgerton for an all-Bronte crowd on the podium. Poort also helped his team to gold in the Open Surf Teams, and fourth in the Open Taplin.

The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by ClubsNSW have been hosted at Umina-Ocean Beach for the last four years. The event moves to Swansea-Belmont in 2017.

Open Championships Top Ten
1 Newport SLSC 509
2 Manly LSC 292
3 Wanda SLSC 221
4 Cronulla SLSC 212
5 North Cronulla SLSC 157
6 Umina SLSC 134
7 Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC 126
8 Elouera SLSC 122
9 Avoca Beach SLSC 121
10 Redhead SLSC 96

Pics: Montannah Murray, Carla Papac (courtesy Stephen Chu) and Elly Graf.

Tue 15 Mar 2016