Successful Opening Day For Age Champs

There were plenty of smiling faces as the opening day of the 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships went off without a hitch at Ocean Beach – Umina on the state’s Central Coast on Friday.

The action began early with the first of almost 3000 competitors hitting the water at around 8am. Conditions were picture perfect for the youngsters with the only wish for a little more of a wave, but as people so often remark at these events “it is a surf carnival after all.”

With the majority of the finals being held over the weekend, today was the day for the beach flaggers to shine.

Olivia Alvarez knows what it takes to win a state title – she won the U12 Female Beach Flags in 2015, and had plenty to smile about early on Day 1 when she backed up by winning the U13 event.

“I was lucky enough to win the same event last year for Newport SLSC and that was the first time I placed at a State Champs, before this I wasn’t making the finals,” said Olivia who now competes for North Bondi SLSC.

“Most of the time I don’t have a great start but I just became really focused at the end and just went for it.”

Another beach athlete who was very happy to come away with a gold medal in her possession was Wanda’s Matilda Handforth who finished first in the U12s.

“Winning state feels great. I was really nervous on the line and when the whistle blew I just ran my hardest and I’m very happy to come first especially after finishing second last year,” she said.

Among other winners in the Flag events were Sam Zustovich (Helensburgh- Stanwell Park SLSC) who took out a highly competitive U14 event, and Georgia Morgan (Manly LSC) who took out the U10 Female event which was her third state title in succession.

Friday’s water events were mainly about qualifying as the huge number of entrants were gradually whittled down. Traditional powerhouses Manly performed well with Wanda, North Cronulla, South Maroubra and Cooks Hill also giving a good account of themselves.

Among the medallists in the water were U10 winners Bella Summers (Elouera) and Fletcher Warn (Wanda). The win was Fletcher’s second in a row, while Bella was delighted to win her first ever state medal.

One athlete who enjoyed an extremely successful day in the water was Manly’s Kimberley Doyle who competed in a number of events.

“I really enjoyed today and I think I will sleep well tonight!” said Doyle the younger sister of Emily who is a multiple state medallist.

“Conditions were pretty tough out there it was a little choppy, and I had to race hard at the end, but I really enjoyed it.”

Day 2 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships which are proudly supported by ClubsNSW will continue tomorrow Saturday 5 March.

Live results are available throughout the event.

Fri 4 Mar 2016