Woolgoolga Rookie Bursts Onto Scene

It wasn’t Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and he might not be Usain Bolt but Woolgoolga teenager Reilly Dalton certainly made a big impact at the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships claiming two individual beach medals.

The teenager scorched across the South West Rocks sand to claim gold in the U17 Beach Flags and silver in the Beach Sprint.

What is even more astonishing was that this was his first ever competition and on the way to the finish line in a hotly contested age group he beat competitors who have been involved in Surf Life Saving since they were 5 years old.

Younger sister Darcy has been involved with Woolgoolga SLSC for just over a year and has proved to be a pretty handy competitor as well earning selection in the North Coast Branch team in December’s Interbranch Championships.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at country – I love it it’s a fantastic competition and a great chance to meet people and see how my skills compare,” said Darcy.

“I joined in last season in the U14s and was fortunate enough to make it to Branch at Forster which was a lot of fun as well.”

After seeing his sister enjoy her time in Surf Life Saving, Reilly decided to join her at the club obtaining his Bronze Medallion just before Christmas.

“I think what attracted me to the club was the opportunity to get fit and have fun with a good group of people,” he said.

At the time the Country Championships wasn’t even on his radar.

“People were talking about how it was a great weekend and that I should consider entering it.” The 16-year-old came to South West Rocks as an unknown quantity having never run a full Flags training session but his opponents certainly know who he is now.

He admits he was surprised by the physicality of the event in which he claimed gold. “I haven’t ever really practiced it (Beach Flags) and there are a lot of bigger guys in my age group. I learned quickly how to get down low and use my speed to get to the Flags,” he said.

The talented teen’s pure speed was on display in the U17 sprint as well when he powered home to finish second.

“I was pretty lucky with conditions, the wind had dropped by the time of my race and there wasn’t much headwind at all. The track felt like it was going uphill a bit but I didn’t really notice it too much,” he modestly said.

After tasting success at the Country Championships Reilly is hungry to experience more of what surf sport carnivals have to offer.

“I think I might make the trip down to State as I’d love to have a couple of races and see what the other guys can do. It will definitely be a step up for me so I’ll do a lot more training and see how I go.”

If his rapid rise continues the name Reilly Dalton will feature on podiums and result lists for many competitions to come.

Photograph - Reilly Dalton and sister Darcy are all smiles at the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Championships

Thu 11 Feb 2016