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With nine Sydney surf clubs featuring in the top 20 at this year’s NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships, it was all smiles for many of the Nippers who competed last weekend at Swansea Belmont’s Blacksmiths Beach.

Despite slipping from first to eighth position in the overall pointscore, Elouera competitors remained a force to be reckoned with in both water and beach events.

The shining lights for the club this year were the U10 girls in both team and individual racing, with wins in the Board (Sybella Daly), Beach Sprint (Matilda Fanning) and Beach Relay (India Chapman, Sybella Daly and Georgia Thomas). They also won the U10 and U13 Surf Teams and Lucy Alexander did the hard yards in the soft sand to win the U14 2km Beach Run.

“We hoped we wouldn’t get dumped and just hoped for the best. A lot of the waves were coming out of nowhere. It’s really choppy,” said the U10 girls after their Board Relay win.

But the girls were philosophical about racing in the big surf. “It was ok. You always know you’re going to have fun.”

Jeremy Hall was elated after his win in the U13 Beach Flags.

“I was hoping to get first, I’ve trained really hard and last year I got third. It’s amazing, I love it.

“My trainers are the older kids and they push me hard every week so it’s really good. Next year I want to win again,” he said.

Coogee SLSC was the real surprise of the carnival, nailing third and a place on the podium, up from seventh last year.

It was an emotional final in the U13 Female Beach Sprint, with Coogee claiming gold, silver and bronze. (Eden Levit, Yasmeen Janschek and Annabel Penny). A teary celebration after the finish and lots of hugs were needed for this close-knit group of friends who train together three times a week.

We’re so happy that we did this. It went so quickly and is just so surreal. I saw everyone coming up and thought, I just really want this,” said Yasmeen.

“I was in the inside lane and I couldn’t see anyone but when I crossed the line, I looked over and I was so proud of my girls and how much we all put in,” said Eden. “It’s so unbelievable that three girls from Coogee could come to State Champs and take out one, two and three.”

The girls met in the U8s and have been best friends ever since.

“We’ve pushed ourselves so hard at training since the beginning and we’re just so happy. For us, this is all about the friendships that we’ve formed,” said Yasmeen. “We’re just like a big family, we’re always together even if we’re not in the same age group. We’ll go watch and support each other in races. It’s such a great healthy environment.”

South Maroubra was another club that staged a big effort at the Championships to rise from 10th to 5th place overall with the younger age groups in particular clocking up the points.

Marli Mayne claimed the U9 Female Beach Sprint and Ashton Briffa went the double, winning the U9 Beach Flags and Sprint. Other firsts were the U10 and U11 Male Beach Relay teams, U12 Female Beach Relay, the U9 and U12 Mixed Relay events and the U12 Male Surf Team.

Wanda SLSC’s seventh place overall was well deserved, with wins for Charli Cash (U14 Ironwoman) Fletcher Warn (U13 Ironman), Ziggy Lester (U11 Male Surf Race), Beau Griggs (U10 Male Surf Race) and Zara Zammit-Mayer (U9 Female Surf Race).

The NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, returns to Swansea Belmont SLSC and Lake Macquarie in March next year.


Wednesday 6 March 2019