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It was a successful competition at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships for Illawarra athletes at Blacksmiths Beach last weekend with a number of locals returning home with medals.

The Bulli Men’s Open Surf Boat Crew picked up their fourth straight NSW title with another commanding performance while the club also enjoyed success in the U15 Female Surf Team event earning bronze.

One athlete who certainly enjoyed their time at the competition was veteran of the sand Davina Strauss from Coledale SLSC.

After blitzing the field during the Masters Championships, Strauss lifted it when it mattered most to claim two bronze medals in the Open Sprint and Flag events.

“I’m really happy with my performance and I think having that run during the Masters really helped me to relax as my main focus for this competition was to just get the enjoyment factor back in my running,” said Strauss.

The fact that she’s still winning Open Medals two decades after her first title gives Strauss a trackside view of the next generation of sprinters and she is mightily impressed by the talent displayed at Blacksmiths.

“It was really great getting to compete with those youngsters as they certainly are quality athletes, but a key challenge is keeping them in the sport. I really hope they stay for at least the next few years as our numbers have gone down a bit.

“I just think it’s fantastic for NSW that so many of the younger girls are making it through to Open Finals and I hope that I can continue be an example of how if you stay fit and healthy and love what you do there’s no reason why you can’t have a long career on the sand,” Strauss said.

Thirroul’s Jazmine Yew enhanced her growing reputation as a beach athlete scorching her way across the sand to gold in the U17 Beach Flags, silver in the Beach Sprint and backing up to finish a highly creditable 6th in the Open Beach Sprint final. Her club mate Sian Fennell also got on the podium claiming bronze in the U17 Female 2km Beach Run.

There was more success in the Surf Boats for Illawarra as the Female Reserve Crew from Wollongong City claimed silver on the final day of the competition.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite a challenging start due to the conditions, the State Championships put an exclamation point on what has been another successful summer for the sport.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful Open Championships and can safely say that we were all treated to a wonderful few days of racing that while extremely competitive was always conducted in the right spirit.

“There’s a lot to like about the performance of our athletes and I think that next month’s Australian Championships is shaping up to be a big one for NSW competitors.” Mr Pidgeon said.