State's Best Youngsters Ready For Championships

Over 2,500 youngsters will be hoping to make their mark at the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships, which gets underway from Friday at Swansea Belmont SLSC, Lake Macquarie.

The three-day event proudly supported by Your local club is one of the highlights of a Nipper’s career, with many of surf’s most successful athletes including Olympians starting their journeys here.

The NSW Championships are the key event on a season’s calendar for the overwhelming majority of the athletes particularly since the Under 14s are the only age group old enough to enter the Australian titles.

Manly LSC will once again be the club to beat after finishing first overall at the last seven NSW Age Championships. The first of those wins was in fact at Swansea Belmont when they hosted the state titles in 2010.

Despite Manly’s long-term dominance, the gap is closing at the top with clubs from across the Hunter, Sydney, and Central Coast keen to build on their success in recent seasons.

Clubs from Sydney Branch have entered almost 40% of the total number of athletes with Wanda, Elouera and Bronte expected to finish near the top of the table. Wanda claimed second spot last year and will be keen to go one better in 2017.

Hosts Swansea Belmont has entered their strongest team in a number of years and is boosted by the inclusion of talented U14s athlete Saxon Coates who previously competed at Cooks Hills SLSC. Coates, Ashby Allen, and Eliza Johnson are looking to push their claims as the best in NSW with the added incentive of doing on their hometown beach.

Swansea Belmont won’t have it all their own way in the battle for Hunter supremacy as rivals Cooks Hill are full of confidence after finishing third overall in 2016. A number of athletes performed strongly at February’s Hunter Branch Championships including U14s competitor Bella Williams who blitzed the field at Fingal Beach.

The Central Coast clubs are on the rise with a number of outstanding performances in recent events suggesting that they will be in the mix as the competition progresses. Despite Avoca Beach SLSC recording the best finish of any Central Coast club last year (finishing sixth overall) Umina SLSC will be fielding the largest team and are confident that they can usurp their long-time local rivals.

A strong representation from the North Coast clubs will make the trip down to Lake Macquarie after excelling at last month’s NSW Stramit Country Championships at South West Rocks. Cudgen Headland and Sawtell are out to ensure that their Southern rivals won’t have it all their own way.

The finest athletes from South Coast clubs will be giving it their all for a chance to be crowned the best in the state during The Championships with Warilla-Barrack Point and Kiama Downs bringing the biggest teams.

Surf Life Saving NSW Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon is confident of a successful event.

“We are delighted to be back at Blacksmiths Beach for what promises to be a highly entertaining three-days of racing. Swansea Belmont put on an outstanding carnival the last time they hosted in 2010 so we are expecting similar,” Rob Pidgeon said.

“The State Championships are always eagerly anticipated by our young members who will be looking forward to testing themselves against the best competitors from around the state in a diverse range of events.”

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships, proudly supported by Your local club takes place over three exciting days at Swansea Belmont from this Friday 3 March.

For all information regarding the Age Championships visit www.surflifesaving.com.au/statechamps17.

Tue 28 Feb 2017