State Champs Wraps up on Central Coast

More than 3000 competitors aged under 15 through to Opens battled it out over three days on the beach and in the water at the Allphones NSW Opens Surf Life Saving Championships held at Ocean Beach-Umina from 8-10 March.

The strength and depth of the Avoca Beach water team was easy to spot up and down the beach as the green and gold capped competitors swam, skied and paddled into the podium placings.

Avoca Beach picked up a hoard of medals of all colours across the carnival and finished sixth on the pointscore from more than 100 competing clubs.

Sunday’s finals day belonged to Laura McGlone who is enjoying her first standout season with the Avoca Beach SLSC. McGlone was part of the winning ski relay and board relay teams and individually kept the medals rolling in with the Under 19 women’s board and the big one, the Under 19 ironwoman. She also picked up silver in the board rescue and swim events.

“It’s so great to get a win for Avoca,” said McGlone after her convincing ironwoman victory.

“I was the most confident I’ve ever been coming to this title, a lot of really great people from Avoca have looked after me. This is by far my most successful state title,” she added. CEO of Surf Life Saving Central Coast Chris Parker said, “Laura’s got a bright future ahead of her in the sport.”

Local hero Lachlan Tame won the open single men’s ski final, the reigning men’s national and world champion finally taking out the state title in the individual ski event, an honour that had eluded him.

“That was the hardest race I have ever won,” admitted Tame. “It was never going to be easy so I am stoked to get the win.”

Kaitlyn Matuschka and Tame also won the mixed double ski.

Avoca Beach’s Under 19 board relay team gave their peers a master class in paddling, the combination of Amy Annabel, McGlone and Matuschka too strong in Saturday’s flat conditions. Annabel and Matuschka are both under 17s who competed up an age group, making their gold medal paddle even more impressive.

The board relay final got off to a shaky start, some competitors thinking it was a false start as their gun sounded then a few seconds later the beach sprint start gun sounded behind them causing a few to slow down and turn around. By the first change of the three-leg event Avoca’s team was already leading strongly with Manly in second and North Cronulla third.

“I knew it was going to be tough, we have been training all season and our ability got us through in the flat water. It shows who has been putting in the hard yards at training,” said Annabel.

She started as an under 6 nipper at Wamberal and moved to Avoca Beach to start under 12s. The Central Coast Grammar year 12 student has a tough balancing act this year, training two hours seven days a week during the season and fitting in her HSC studies.

Annabel and Matuschka backed up yet again in the Under 17 single ski relay women’s final, teaming up with Zoe Hill. All three will head to the Aussies in early April where Annabel is hoping to repeat her success at the states in the board events and McGlone and Matuschka in the board. “Plus we are hoping to dominate all the teams events,” added Annabel.

Young Avoca Beach superstars Riley Fitzsimmons, Brad McCloghry and Jordan Moore worked together to convincingly secure gold in the U17 taplin relay and U17 single ski relay, overcoming the very flat, tough conditions.

On Sunday, Fitzsimmons’ classy performance in the under 17 ski event in the best surf of the event delivered him state title glory.

The taplin trio praised their “mentor, coach and best mate,” Lachlan Tame. “The boys are great. They are dedicated athletes and at this stage it’s all about sharpening them up and getting them in the right headspace so they are nice and relaxed for competition,” said Tame.

McCloghry’s preparation for this carnival was less than ideal. He was sick for a couple of weeks while Fitzsimmons was still covering from a tough flat-water kayaking regatta.

Increasing levels of participation and the sheer size of the event program have put pressure on organisers’ ability to run the event effectively and fairly. After seeking feedback from both competitors and officials, organisers have decided to split out some events and run the program over several consecutive weekends instead of a 10 day block. This will mean less clashing of events so athletes won’t miss out on the opportunity to participate and will reduce the need for people to take time off work or school to compete.

The 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships will be held back at Ocean Beach-Umina from the 28th of February to the 2nd of March for the Age Championships and the 7th to the 9th of March for the Open event. The Masters competitors will have their own dedicated event to be held on the 15th and 16th of March. Lifesaving events will be held on 22nd and 23rd of February.

Many of those who competed this weekend will line up again for the Aussies on the Gold Coast in early April, this carnival an important stepping stone in the preparation of thousands of NSW surf lifesavers.

Full results from the 2013 Allphones NSW Surf Life Saving Championships can be found on the event page.

Mon 11 Mar 2013