Sydney Surf Life Saving Clubs Reign at SLS Championships
Surf Life Saving Clubs from Sydney have dominated the open competition at the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, supported by ClubsNSW, held at Ocean Beach and Umina from 7-9 March 2014.
Three days of near perfect conditions saw over 2500 athletes participate in a range of team and individual events with four Sydney clubs finishing in the Top 10 of the overall pointscore.
Tom O’Keefe of Elouera SLSC was relieved as he crossed the line and secured gold in the Open Male Surf Race.
“I have been chasing that Gold for five years. It is just unbelievable, I still don’t know what just happened,” he said.
Tom, who had considered sitting this season out after lacking motivation and seriously doubting his ability, only decided to compete at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships a couple of weeks ago.
“I never do anything half-hearted and I consider myself a team player so I really didn’t want to let my mates, especially Dane Farrell and Nathan Gray, down. I claimed it hard at the end there but it was such a huge relief to me that I was even competitive in that race,” said Tom.
Tom also secured Gold in the Open Male Surf Team and Open Male Board Rescue with team mate Dane Farrell.
North Bondi SLSC was strongly represented across all age groups and Lizzie Wellborn, Alex Christopher and Tammi Solomonson kicked it off for the club with a gold in the U15 Board Relay.
“Conditions are windy out there and it is a very long paddle. It is such a good feeling to get a gold medal at State and know that all your hard work has paid off,” said Alex.
“We won this at the Sydney Branch Championships so we were very excited but the competition is really tough and there are good girls from all over NSW,” said Lizzie.
“State is about getting some experience, having fun and showing off your skills. North Bondi has a team of about thirty but it is the quality not the quantity!” added Tammi.
Reigning U17 Ironwoman Jessica Suriano did it again and was excited about how North Bondi was shaping up.
“We used to be a little club and in the last few years we have really stepped up. A lot of the girls are training hard and it is certainly one to watch out for,” said Jessica.
Jessica won the U15 Ironperson in 2012 and has now won the U17 Ironperson for 2013 and 2014.
Other notable North Bondi performances included gold for the U15 Female Surf Team, U15 Female Cameron Relay, U17 Mixed March Past and gold and silver in the 2KM Beach Run for sisters Amy and Lily Harding-Delooze.
Twilight beach competition took place from 3.30pm on Day 2 with thousands of spectators lined up along the beach track cheering on their respective clubs.
However no one could look past 15 year old Jessica Thornton of Coogee SLSC who secured gold in the Open and U17 Female Beach Sprints.
Jessica, who will attempt to qualify for Australia at the Youth Olympics, was ecstatic with her dominant win in both events.
"To win that Opens race against these girls is a real boost of confidence for me. I'm a track girl and rarely train on the sand so I was pretty nervous going into the final but over the moon with the result," said Jessica.
Coogee was also competitive in the male beach events with the U15, U17 and U19 Beach Relay Teams securing gold as well as William Harrison taking out the U15 Male Beach Sprint.
Fifteen year-old Lucy McJannett competing up an age group outpaced a tough line-up in the U17 Surf Race to relegate Swansea Belmont and Maroubra’s finalists to second and third.
After a long swim around the cans with little wave assistance the Grade 11 St Andrew’s Cathedral student barely had time to catch her breath and down a sports drink before dashing off to compete in the Open Surf Race. Up against a talented field she finished third behind the eventual open Ironwoman winner Georgia Miller from Manly and Zoe Elkerton from Shellharbour SLSC.
Lucy also secured gold in the U17 Rescue Tube Rescue race and silver in the Open Belt Race.
The top 15 clubs in the overall pointscore were as follows:
1.) Newport SLSC
2.) Manly LSC
3.) Wanda SLSC Inc
4.) North Cronulla SLSC
5.) Elouera SLSC
6.) Cronulla SLSC
6.) Swansea Belmont SLSC
7.) Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC
8.) Avoca Beach SLSC
9.) Queenscliff SLSC
9.) Freshwater SLSC
10.)North Bondi SLSC
11.)Coogee SLSC (NSW)
13.)Umina SLSC Inc
15.)Byron Bay SLSC
Next week the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships conclude with the Masters Championships and for all results including the overall pointscore, please visit the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Opens Championships event page.
Pending final Council approval the NSW Championships will return to Ocean Beach/Umina in 2015 with final dates yet to be determined.
Mon 10 Mar 2014