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Some of the state’s best surf swimmers will compete at the Surf Life Saving NSW Pool Rescue Championships this weekend at Woy Woy Peninsula Leisure Centre on the Central Coast.

Almost 450 top swimmers from 29 clubs will take part in state championship event. As one of the newest events to Surf Life Saving, the sport has had an incredible uptake with some of the best athletes adapting to the unique, technical rescue events at an already elite level.

The events are based around speed and the ability to use speed in a rescue with obstacles and weighted items in-place of real-life patients.

The 200m Super Lifesaver is one of the premier events for the weekend. Not just an average 200-metre sprint, this race consists of a 75m freestyle swim to recover a submerged manikin, followed by a 50m freestyle to secure a manikin with a rescue tube towed to the finish line.

The Newport SLSC’s Kinghorn Academy will be back in force with their top gold medal winning Iron competitors lining up including Doyle (Anthony, Emily, Katelynn and Kimberley) and Morris (Jake, Mitchell and Zach) families.

The 2018 NSW Athlete of the Year and multiple state-title holder Jemma Smith (Umina Beach SLSC) is absent this weekend but a number of talented athletes will be vying for Open titles including the highlight Super Lifesaver event. Her Umina Beach team will be returning to the NSW Pool Rescue Champs with 46 competitors.

Umina Beach coach and Central Coast Volunteer of the Year Harold Marshall said the lead-up to the Pool Rescue Champs is always highly anticipated and keeps everyone on a solid training schedule despite it being the surf sport off-season.

“We’ve been lucky enough that have such a strong Pool Rescue culture that has stemmed from its early inception from Umina Life Member Carl Krucler,” said Harold. “Carl has always focussed on the finer intricacies of pool rescue which is what makes this event so interesting and not always the fastest swimmer wins the races. It has the variables that we love about surf but translated to the pool environment.”

Harold also attributes the success of the team to the great team ambassadors. “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 from our coaches.”

As a young sport Harold also says it’s important to keep inspiring the squad and providing good pathways for the young-guns with fun sessions.

“We have many special guests coming to assist our younger kids who ensure the fundamentals are taught and there is ample support for each and every competitor. Pool Rescue provides our athletes and their families an opportunity to try something completely outside the box and keep the kids training in the pool throughout the winter months, which we all know can be a hard thing to maintain.”

Local Central Coast clubs continue to field some of the strongest teams with seven clubs competing this weekend (Avoca Beach SLSC, MacMasters Beach SLSC, Shelly Beach SLSC, Terrigal SLSC, Umina SLSC and Wamberal SLSC). They have dominated the championships since they began in 2008, however with top athletes focussing on their training across the state, the game could change in 2019.  

Broulee Surfers SLSC will make the journey from the Far South Coast with a team of 10 athletes as well as Cudgen Headland from the Far North Coast who will bring with them Australian Under 15 Surf Race Champion Lily O’Sullivan.

This is Lily’s first year competing in Pool Rescue. The surf star was introduced to the sport by fellow Cudgen athlete Anthea Warne. “I’ve always looked up to Anthea. She’s great in the pool and the surf and when she asked me to come along to give Pool Rescue a try I loved it.”

Lily says she’s going to give all events a go but thinks that the Medley might be her race.

“I’ve been training every weekend working on a lot of drill-based skills and breathing exercises as well as the obstacles and technical aspects. I really enjoy it because it’s so different to anything I’ve done and it’s a lot of fun.

“The breath training has been a huge help for me in the pool and in the surf, especially staying under waves longer and bodysurfing. It’s been really interesting to learn.”

Apart from the top NSW clubs, two of Queensland’s most competitive surf clubs (Kurrawa SLSC and BMD Northcliffe SLSC) as well as a number of lifesaving and lifeguard clubs will add extra intensity to the racing.

Look out for names like Zara Sharman (Bulli SLSC), James Koch (Shelly Beach SLSC), and Kaylah Holmes (Umina Beach SLSC) who will all be defending titles in the pool.

NSW Pool Rescue coaches will also have a watchful eye on the athletes this weekend ahead of naming the NSW team which will compete at the Interstate Championships in 9-11 August at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

The 2019 NSW Pool Rescue Championships - 13 and 14 July at Woy Woy Peninsula Leisure Centre (243 Blackwall Rd Woy Woy) from 8am.


  • 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


Wednesday 10 July 2018