Successful Open Champs For Central Coast

Competitors weathered tough conditions at Umina-Ocean Beach on the NSW Central Coast for finals day of the Open NSW Surf Life Saving Championship, the closing stage of the 2015 state title.

Gusty cold 25 plus knot southerly winds and rain squalls blew straight onto the competition areas turning umbrellas inside out and sending athletes scurrying under tents when the skies opened. It also blew up the surf, which suited the stronger athletes.

Unfazed by the angry conditions, Harry Armstrong from Avoca Beach SLSC out paddled a seriously hot field in the U15 board event.

“It was very tough out there, the conditions were quite choppy. I made the final last year in the 14s but didn’t manage to medal so I’m very, very pleased with this result. We’ve got a group of very good board riders in the club at the moment.”

Avoca Beach teammate Brad McCloghry is the new Ironman under 19 state champion. Summing up his win he said,

“I’m very happy to get my first state Ironman title and to do in my home branch with a lot of support is very pleasing.

“We’ve got a lot of great younger kids coming through at Avoca at the moment which is really benefitting us all at training. We’re like one big happy family.”

“It was a very tough race out there with the wind making it difficult to get full power in the strokes. I was getting it in the eyes a bit during the last leg, but it was adrenalin keeping me going.” McCloghry said.

In the water Avoca’s Kaitlyn Matuschka kept drawing on the last of her energy reserves to record her best Carnival results ever; three gold and one silver medal.

“Hopefully the adrenaline of winning hangs in the system long enough for the iron event,” she said after her Open ski success. Newport’s Georgia Miller went on to triumph in the U19 iron event but ‘Tush’, as her teammates call her, finished silver medallist and prevailed in the U19 ski and board race.

It was a win for the home branch on Saturday in the U19s female beach sprint when Avoca Beach’s Bianca Mould held off Kaitlin Mott from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park and Renee Stortenbeker from Elouera.

“It was really fun to run out there today as it was almost perfect conditions.It wasn’t too hot and being slightly overcast actually helped a bit as it kept conditions quite cool during the race,” a delighted Mould said.

“It is special winning a state title in my home branch, and the plan is to keep training every day and get ready for Aussies.”

Avoca Beach was the highest ranked Central Coast club on the final overall pointscore, finishing fifth.

Jemma Smith bettered last year’s results thanks to an amazing performance over the three-day event that netted her four gold, in the champion U17 lifesaver, U17 surf race, U19 rescue tube rescue and U17 swim team, plus three silver and two bronze.

“The under 17 swim team gold was the highlight because it’s all the girls I train with plus our coach was there as well. Found today’s conditions challenging; it really put all the athletes to the test which is what you need for finals day. I’m off to Aussies in three weeks, this weekend’s a great indication of what’s coming up and how I’m going compared to the rest of NSW."

Umina finished ninth overall from 87 clubs that competed at the Open, “an amazing result for our small club; we certainly matched it with the bigger clubs,” added Smith.

Many of the 2,500 athletes at the NSW state title used the Carnival as valuable competition practice for the upcoming Aussies, scheduled for April 11-19 at North Kirra Beach in Queensland.

“Congratulations to the winning Newport club,” said NSW Surf Life Saving sports manager Shane Knight following the championships.

“We’ve had a great three days of competition here at Ocean Beach-Umina, again a wonderful host.

“The standard of competition has been extremely high and it was a fitting celebration to honour the centenary of the founding of surf sports.”

Photograph:Brad McCloghry (Avoca Beach) in action during the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships.

Credit Stephen Chu

Thu 19 Mar 2015