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The Surf Life Saving NSW Pool Rescue Championships brought together almost 450 lifesavers on the weekend for the 11th year of competition. The State Championship event held at Woy Woy Peninsula Leisure Centre showcased the technical skills that are needed to execute a successful water rescue by our lifesavers.

With the largest team of 46 athletes, local club Umina Beach SLSC took out the Open overall point score. Coach Kerry Armstrong-Smith said, “Pool Rescue is a great sport that gives our lifesavers the skills to be able to pickup and carry a patient for a long distance. It’s a great skill-based training over winter and keeps lifesavers fit over the colder months.”

Fellow Umina Beach member Harold Marshall said the team was ecstatic to defend their Open State Championship title. “This is a fantastic result for our team and everyone who has worked so hard on developing and building our Umina Pool Rescue team. We have a number of strong athletes who have gone on to represent the state and Australia. They have been outstanding and a testament to the foundations set by our coaches.”

James Koch of Shelley Beach SLSC (who took second place in both Open and Masters division) took home a number of gold medals including the Men’s Open Super Lifesaver with a time of 2 minutes 21 seconds. James won gold in six individual events: 200m Open Obstacle, 50m Open Manikin Carry, 100m Open Manikin Tow, 100m Open Manikin Carry, 100m Open Rescue Medley, 50m Open Freestyle and several relays. 

National team hopeful, Koch had a solid weekend in the pool. “I’ve had a few great races today and some personal bests which was very surprising because I’m in a hard training block. This weekend was a good practice run in the lead-up to Nationals in a couple of weeks. Making the Australian team in any one of the events would be a great privilege.”

Demonstrating in great style how her surf fitness and skills can be easily transferred to the pool, Emily Doyle of Newport SLSC took out the coveted Female Super Lifesaver title. As well, Emily picked up five gold medals in the individual events including U19 Open Freestyle, 100m U19 Manikin Tow, 100m U19 Manikin Carry, 100m U19 Rescue Medley, 200m U19 Obstacle and was part of a number of relay gold medal teams.

In the Masters it was Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club which took out the overall point score. In the Bondi team was former competitive swimmer Dori Miller who has an amazing double-crossing of the English Channel in her repertoire. She took home four individual gold medals, assisting the Sydney club to defend its State Championship point score title.  

“The pool is where I’m used to being, with the black line,” said Miller. “It’s great to swim and get a time and see the swims you can improve and work on as little goals. Each year our Bondi team has increased in size. We’ve got a core team of Masters athletes and have brought a team of kids this year for the first time, which has been great.” 

Todd Hayward and Steve Corcoran from Broulee Surfers SLSC brought a team of 10 competitors including seven Nippers and three Masters from the Far South Coast where the ocean water temperature is currently about 14 degrees. The tiny club punched well above its weight to finish fifth in the overall Masters point score.

“Some of our Nippers train in Canberra and Broulee so this is a great way to mix up training routines and keep everyone active in the off-season,” said Corcoran. “Doing obstacles and manikin rescues teaches them good lifesaving skills so that when they get to the beach they’re a lot stronger and have a lot more power when they get in the surf,” said Corcoran. 

“We’ve got a core body of people who know how to train for Pool Rescue now and the club has pitched in to help us buy manikins and bricks so we can build our team and come back in force next year.”

The Youth division (Under 11s – Under 14s) was hotly contested with the young guns and future surf lifesavers showing their amazing rescue capabilities and fitness at a young age.

It was Central Coast club Terrigal SLSC that took out the overall Youth point score for 2019 for the third year running.

Linda Redfern from Terrigal SLSC, who competed in the Masters events on the weekend, said she never imagined that opportunities like this would come from her son joining the club as a Nipper several years ago.

“The kids have been training hard but also having a lot of fun,” she said. “Rachelle King coaches the kids at our club and she’s been doing a fantastic job and you can see the results here today. We love coming to these events, especially as a team. The kids meet people from all over and the friendships that you form and that the kids form are amazing.”

All the way from Cudgen Headland SLSC on the Far North Coast, Lily O’Sullivan tested her new skills in the pool for the first time. The up and coming Ironwoman sensation was unsure of how she’d fare against some of the state’s seasoned pool rescue athletes. “I’ve got to race with my friends this weekend and I’ve had good results for my first year racing. Pool rescue is quite different to surf and it’s taught me some new skills that have really helped me out in the water,” said Lily

It was a back and forth battle between gold and silver between O’Sullivan and Bulli’s Holly Holmseby in both the Youth and Opens events. O’Sullivan took home the U15 years Super Lifesaver title as well as the U14 years 100m Manikin Tow, an amazing result for the her first State Championships.

Holmseby meanwhile claimed four gold medals across the weekend representing her Illawarra club. She is hoping to be selected for the NSW team heading into the Australian Championships with fellow club mate Zara Sharman who took four gold medals for herself on the weekend.

“We had a team of 10 from Bulli SLSC compete on the weekend. Altogether we brought home 30 medals (15 gold, 14 silver and 1 bronze) which is a great result,” said Sharman. Our youngest competitors were the Under 11 girls team who took home three medals in their relays and we’re really proud of them.”

The Bulli club has had strong past success with athletes like Matthew Freeman who holds a number of world records. Freeman continues to work with the team to develop a strong youth competitor base.

The Australian Championships will be held 9-11 August 2019 at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Southport QLD.


  • Line Throw – 12.5 metres

  • Line Throw 10 metres

  • 200m Obstacle Race

  • 100m Obstacle Race

  • 50m Obstacle Race

  • 4x50m Obstacle Relay

  • 50m Manikin Carry

  • 50m Brick Carry

  • 4x25m Brick Relay

  • 4x25m Manikin Relay

  • 100m Manikin Tow with Fins

  • 100m Manikin Carry with Fins

  • 100m Rescue Medley

  • 4x50m Medley Relay

  • 50m Freestyle with Fins

  • 200m Super Lifesaver


  • Avoca Beach SLSC

  • BMD Northcliffe SLSC

  • Bondi SBLSC

  • Broulee Surfers SLSC

  • Bulli SLSC

  • Caves Beach SLSC

  • Cooks Hill SLSC

  • Cronulla SLSC

  • Cudgen Headland SLSC

  • Elouera SLSC

  • Kurrawa SLSC

  • MacMasters Beach SLSC

  • Manly LSC

  • Mona Vale SLSC

  • Newport SLSC

  • North Avoca SLSC

  • North Bondi SLSC

  • North Cronulla SLSC

  • North Curl Curl SLSC

  • Port Hacking Lifeguard Club

  • Redhead SLSC

  • Shelly Beach SLSC

  • Swansea Belmont SLSC

  • Terrigal SLSC

  • The Hills Lifesaving Club

  • Umina Beach SLSC

  • Wamberal SLSC

  • Wanda SLSC

  • Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC


Monday 15 July 2019