For the first time NSW will be sending two teams to the annual Interstate Championships after a Country team was endorsed to travel to next month’s event in South Australia.
The Interstate Championships are a highlight of the surf sport representative season with state pride going on the line. Each state is allowed to field a maximum of 12 competitors (6 male, 6 female) in the Open and Youth category with four U17 athletes to be part of the Youth squad, although different selection rules apply for this inaugural NSW Country squad.
Twelve lucky athletes were ultimately selected for this historic squad with athletes having to registered for a club outside the Hunter-Illawarra corridor and be an open competitor to be eligible for selection.
NSW Country have been a dominant force at the biennale Trans-Tasman Series winning three successive titles including in 2017 against their rivals Northern (New Zealand) and Central Coast (NSW) Branch.
Five athletes (Madeleine Baker, Luke Chaffer, Claudia Crawford, Joshua Jones, and Angus Macphail) were all part of that team that won in New Zealand last January and are looking forward to pulling on their NSW Country cap once more.
NSW Surf Sport Manager Rob Pidgeon said the opportunity to send a NSW Country team to a high class competition was welcomed by both SLSA and the other states, and a way to support and retain members from Country NSW by reinforcing an athlete pathway.
“A big focus for us in recent years has been to create development opportunities for all our athletes. It’s a wonderful opportunity for those based in the country to challenge themselves against the best in Australia, and showcase the strength of the sport in Country areas,” said Mr Pidgeon.
“Country surf lifesavers are incredibly proud of their hometown clubs and getting the chance to wear their colours is a rare opportunity for them, so to be able to give them this chance to race is something that we’re very proud to do and will help them as they carve out their careers in the wave on the beach and in the sand.”
Preparations will continue to ramp up over the coming weeks with the squad travelling to Adelaide on Wednesday 18 January for a pre-competition camp before the Interstate Championships are held on Friday 20 January 2018.
2018 NSW Country Team
- Jayden Allen (Warilla – Barrack Point SLSC)
- Madeleine Baker (Warilla – Barrack Point SLSC)
- Brooke Cavanagh (Warilla – Barrack Point SLSC)
- Luke Chaffer (Cudgen Headland SLSC)
- Claudia Crawford (Cudgen Headland SLSC)
- Joshua Jones (Cudgen Headland)
- Steine Lofts (Mollymook SLSC)
- Angus Macphail (Cudgen Headland)
- Jayden Mandall (Cudgen Headland SLSC)
- Hayley Smith (Cudgen Headland SLSC)
- Sarah Wilson (Cudgen Headland SLSC)
- Jordan White (Warilla – Barrack Point SLSC)
Tuesday 19 December 2017