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After two days of competition, Newport SLSC, the current title holder, is on track to win their seventh Open Championship at the 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont SLSC.

After a wet start to the day, the rain cleared and the teams events got underway in perfect race conditions - with three-to-four-foot swell and a gentle southerly breeze producing great waves for competitors to perform at their best.

Newport continued their strong lead in the overall point score today, with Wanda positioned comfortably in second place - ahead of third-placed Elouera. However, competition was fierce between Elouera, Manly, Coogee, North Cronulla and Cronulla for third place - with only four points separating them going into day three of the competition and the individual events. At this stage, any of these five clubs could end up with a podium finish on day three.

Newport Coach, Trent Herring, said that he was delighted with the women’s performance in the water today and that the U19 Female Board Relay was a highlight – where Newport’s Analise Kibble, Alex Lefevre and Sascha Taurins took gold for their club ahead of Wanda. However, Newport also took out bronze in the same event with Emily Eaves, Mia Ross and Rachel Sothern performing well.

“Having waves today makes our competitors smile. It really lets the kids show off their skills,” said Newport coach Trent Herring.

“The U15s and U17s performed well yesterday which set us up well for today. And we’re well represented in the individuals and finals tomorrow. With the battle of the Taplins yet to come,” he said.

Newport also produced some impressive performances in the U19 Female Ski Relay with Emily Doyle, Jami Prowse, Sascha Taurins taking out the gold ahead of the Redhead and Wanda teams.

Wanda SLSC had a good day on the beach and in the water and ended the overall pointscore in second place. Team coach Nathan Smith acknowledged his club doesn’t have the strength of Newport but that his athletes were working hard, doing well and scoring points - and that he hoped to bridge the points gap between Wanda and Newport compared to last year.

“Our number one priority is just to get as many people as we can into finals. If you make a final, with a smile on your face, that’s an achievement. But you have to be in the top six to score points,” said Nathan Smith.

Wanda’s Open Female Taplin teams performed well in the semi-finals with three teams booking a place in Sunday’s finals.

“To be honest that wasn’t a surprise. We expected those three teams to do well. We’ve built a great training environment,” said Nathan Smith.

On the sand, there were some stand-out performances from some of the smaller clubs. Mollymook and Fingal both had impressive wins in the Mens Open Flags and Female Beach Sprint. Lightning-fast Sam Zustovich from Mollymook was in fine form and took out the Open Flags. But it was Grace Hewitt from Fingal whose remarkable form had everyone talking. She won both the Open Female Beach Sprint and the U17 Beach Sprint - proving that she will be a competitor to watch in the future.

Corrimal SLSC wasn’t to be left behind in the beach sprint events either – with impressive performances in the U15 Male Beach Sprints by the Sommers twins, Levi and Bailey, who came in first and second respectively. The twins also performed well in the U15 Male Beach Relay Final banking a third place for their club – with Max Waddell and Vegas Myers also helping the Corrimal team to victory.

Host club Swansea Belmont finished strongly on day two in eighth position – one place higher than at the end of day two in last year’s competition. The U17 Female Taplin Relay was a highlight win for them today with Zali Berge, Eliza Johnson and Hayley Warmsley bringing in some early points for their club with a blistering final-leg swim by Warmsley. It was a dominant win in the water and the home crowd loved every minute of it.

Tomorrow the March Past will kick-off the final day of NSW’s largest surf sport event. It’s International Women’s Day and some of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding women will form a Colour Party to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of women’s formal involvement in Surf Life Saving. They will honour women’s achievements throughout our 113-year history. It’s an event not to be missed.

The 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club conclude Sunday with the Open Ironperson, Taplin, Board race events and surf boat finals. All the action will be streamed live on the SLSNSW Facebook Page.

Day Two Top 10 Pointscore

1. Newport SLSC - 340

2. Wanda SLSC - 304

3. Elouera SLSC - 132

4. Manly LSC - 129

5. Coogee SLSC - 128

5. North Cronulla SLSC - 128

6. Cronulla SLSC - 125

7. Swansea Belmont SLSC - 112

8. Umina SLSC - 102

9. North Bondi SLSC - 87

10. Freshwater SLSC - 74


Saturday 7 March 2020