They’re almost 4000km away on the other side of the continent, but the tyranny of travel only inspired the next generation of NSW Surf Sport stars, with some terrific performances highlighting the opening weekend of the Australian Championships.
A healthy contingent of the state’s top U14 and 15 competitors make the long trek west to Scarborough Beach just outside Perth for the 2018 Australian Youth Surf Life Saving Championships, and it was a trip to remember for some of our brightest teenaged stars.
A stellar season continued to get better for Cudgen Headland’s Lily O’Sullivan as she claimed three Australian medals on her first attempt at a national level.
After dominating at NSW Country and State Level this summer O’Sullivan stepped up to win the U14 Ironwoman, Board Race, and Swim events.
It was a performance that didn’t surprise Cudgen Headland coach Scott McCartney who mentors a highly talented group of water athletes at the Kingscliff based club.
“I was delighted to see Lily’s results and it’s absolutely fantastic to see that all of her huge efforts while training have been rewarded,” said McCartney.
“Lily treats every session like an Aussie final so when she gets on the start line it’s nothing new for her. She wants to beat anyone and is always striving to improve and is always focused on how she can perform at her best,” he said.
Also impressing at the competition was North Cronulla flier Lucy Flanagan who is now a double gold medallist after her wins in the U14 Beach Flags and Sprint events. Flanagan showed her speed in the pure sprint to down Kiara Rychvalsky (Maroochydore), and Coogee’s Ruby Thomasyu.
Meanwhile Coogee’s Holly Abbey also impressed on the sand winning the U15 Female Beach Flag event, was a finalist in the Beach Sprint, and combined with Annabelle Wendler, Ruby Thomasyu, and Elizabeth Tanner to finish with a silver medal in the U15 Beach Relay.
It was a good weekend for Swansea Belmont young guns Nicolas Stoddart and Saxon Coates. Stoddart added to his trophy collection by taking out the U15 Board Title (after claiming gold the previous season), and was a semi-finalist in the Ironman.
He then teamed up with Coates to take gold in the U15 Board Rescue defeating Northcliffe and Maroubra SLSC in a tight final.
Coates had a busy program and was a finalist in the 2KM Beach Run, Ironman and pushed his teammate all the way in the Board Race ultimately finishing with a silver medal and giving his club a spectacular one-two double on the podium.
There was plenty of success for the long distance beach runners Wanda’s Kai Hammond won the Male U15 Beach Run, Olissa Onley (Cudgen Headland) defeated Bronte’s Sophie Ferenczi in the U14 Female Race, while Tiahna Woodger (North Cronulla) finished with silver in the U15 Female Run to be the best placed NSW competitor.
The 2018 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships will continue at Scarborough Beach, Western Australia until this Sunday 22 April. For detailed results and timetable please see the official Event Page.
Monday 16 April 2018