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Umina was the best performing Central Coast club at the 2019 NSW Open Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont SLSC, finishing in sixth spot, going one better than last year’s seventh place.

The club’s fortunes were given a boost by the performances of Jemma Smith, super strong and focussed as always, with wins including the Open Female Champion Lifesaver and the prestigious Open Ironwoman title, Open Ski and along with Mimosa Henderson and Rachel Wood, took out the Open Female Taplin.

The girls were joined by Bronte Smith to win gold in the Open Female Rescue Tube Rescue event. Jemma was second in the Open Female Board race too.

The club’s new recruit, Bailey Johns who made the move from Avoca Beach during the year, successfully took out the U19 Board Race and was second in the U19 Ironman.

Umina’s strength in the Lifesaving events is solid with athletes picking up medals in a range of disciplines. While these events often receive less profile, they are based on real skills needed by lifesavers to perform rescues and save lives. These are the guys you want around if you’re ever in trouble!

Matthew Kearney is the NSW U15 Male Champion Lifesaver, Kirsten Miller won the U17 Female and Bethwyn Caller claimed the U15 Female title. Bethwyn and Jack Sloane combined to win the U15 Mixed First Aid competition. The U17 and U15 Mixed First Aid Team B both took silver in their competitions.

Jemma Smith was lucky to make it back from kayaking nationals in Perth the night before competition began, backing up for a great effort at the three days of Open competition.

It's really tough racing out there today, there's absolutely no assistance and it's a really long hard slog.”

She says the pathways Surf Life Saving can give athletes into other sports is clear.

“There are so many kayakers that have gone to the Olympics that started in Surf Life Saving and it's a great cross-over. It's really great that we can do that.”

The enthusiastic competitor says the club is going from strength to strength.

“It's been fantastic at Umina this season, we've had some really good results building. We've had some good new recruits from other Central Coast clubs that are stepping up and pushing our Open squad along. Bailey Johns has just won the Under 19 board race which is great for him and the club and he's backed up after winning the youth world board champs,” said Jemma.

Avoca Beach SLSC had some great results in the junior competition the week before, with Natalia Drobot backing up in the Opens to win the U15 Female Board race and with her team mates Mia Cracknell and Bronte Ayres, took bronze in the U15 Board Relay.

The club’s junior surf boat crews also staged awesome campaigns to come through to finals day and claim silvers in the U19 Male and Female divisions in the flat conditions.

Other Central Coast clubs celebrated with medal winners from various beach and water events. Terrigal SLSC picked up two silvers for Sophie Holliday in the U17 2km Beach Run and Rachelle King in the Over 24 Restricted Surf Race. The trio of Ryan, Nicholas and Kye Green were third across the line in the U15 Board Relay.

Shelley Beach also had their time on the podium, with golds to the U17 Male Beach Relay team of Bryn Gaha, Jack Merriman, Blaine Nelson and Braith Walters. Alex Chaffer won the Open Male Rescue Tube Rescue with James Koch, Thomas Lennox and Adam Smith. James Koch was silver in the Open Male Surf Belt and third in the Open Male Surf Race.

Ocean Beach SLSC’s lone medal was Nicole Majsak, taking home a shiny gold in the U17 Female Beach Flags.

The Central Coast also won off the podium too. Both Umina and Avoca Beach SLSCs won exclusive use of the Your local club Superbox on the beach for the finals weekend. The clubs won the Superbox access including hospitality, by entering the ‘war cry’ competition on social media.


Wednesday 13 March 2019