Perfect conditions greeted more than 2700 junior competitors at Blacksmiths Beach on Day Two of the 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club.
With temperatures in the mid-20s, a gentle onshore breeze and a four-foot swell, conditions for young competitors could not have been better for both water and sand events – giving all participants the opportunity to perform at their best.
North Curl Curl and Wanda SLSCs from Sydney were the surprises of the day, as they racked up point after point to finish first and second respectively. This is a considerable improvement for both clubs on their 2019 performance.
For host club Swansea Belmont is was a case of deja-vu as they held onto third place until the very end of the day, when Coogee made a late charge to finish just behind Wanda.
Team Manager at Wanda SLSC, Brooke Thatcher said the secret of their improvement was lots of hard work, lots of training, eating right and the commitment of the kids and the passion they have for their club, sport and each other. But the club has also focussed on their beach events with the input of some new coaching talent.
“A couple of seasons ago we got some new coaches to build up our strength in beach events. We’re usually strong in the water because of all the clubs in Bate Bay, we have the roughest surf so our kids are naturally strong in the water - and we have some good competitors. But we noticed that we had to pick up in beach so we focussed on that, brought the crew in and we’ve improved our beach results already,” said Brooke Thatcher.
Head Junior Coach of Nippers at North Curl Curl SLSC Michael Clues said the reason their club had improved so much on last year was because of the commitment of parents and the focus on building the club’s culture and camaraderie.
“Saturday at State is our most important day. Today is all about teams day so the culture of the club is a priority. At the end of the day the priorities are; the club is first, team second and individual third,” said Michael Clues.
“We all want them to get medals, but medals are a by-product of kids having fun. If they’re having fun at training and they’re coming back to carnivals, then we’re winning there already,” he said.
It’s clear that both North Curl Curl and Wanda and teams have been putting in the hard yards, from a training perspective, in the weeks leading up to competition.
“In the lead up to state we have training every day for a different discipline. The board and the water team train four times a week plus Nippers on a Sunday. And our beach team trains three times a week plus a Sunday during Nippers to build the beach team and culture,” Brook Thatcher said.
She conceded the Wanda team was nervous leading into the final events on Day Three. However, she said they have some kids who are competing very strongly in the U11s who might help win them enough points to stay on the podium.
“I think we have a good chance to stay in the top three - but there are a lot of beach sprint finals tomorrow,” Brook Thatcher concluded.
This year North Curl Curl fielded a team of about 70 kids out of a Nippers group of 600. Wanda has almost 140 kids competing at this year’s event out of a field of 480 Nippers.
With another full day of finals on Sunday and the point score at the top so close, it’s still anyone’s race.
The U11 Female Surf Team winners from Wanda said that their race strategy was to go fast, try to be first to the can and have fun. Team member Sienna Mead said that their race strategy was to stay together and work together as a team. She said that their training secret was to “train hard”.
Although they performed very strongly in team swim events, taking out several first-places, current title holder, Cooks Hill SLSC couldn’t hold off other rivals to retain their place at the top of the ladder, finishing in fifth spot.
The U14 Female Surf Team winners from Cooks Hill SLSC, said that the reason their club performs well in water events is because they train hard and as “one community”.
“We swim train six times a week in the pool plus three board sessions,” said Imogen Egan.
As far as their training diet is concerned, the girls said that they had a secret weapon - eating lollies before an event. Red frogs and snakes are a team favourite!
The junior events at the 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships conclude Sunday with all the finals, including Ironperson and Relays, along with the spectacle of the March Past parade.
North Curl Curl SLSC
- U9 Male Board Race - Reuben Te Pania.
- U9 Female Surf Race – Jocelyne Melbourn.
- U9 Female Board Relay - Evie Davis, Jocelyne Melbourn and Emma Windsham.
- U9 Female Surf Team - Evie Davis, Grace Lawry, Jocelyne Melbourn and Emma Windsham.
- U11 Male Board Relay - Mitchell Bradley, Tyler Brown and Danny King.
- U12 Female Board Relay - Zara Kasprowicz, Jaya Lilienthal and Pipi Te Pania.
- U12 Female Surf Team - Zara Kasprowicz, Jaya Lilienthal, Andie Milligan and Pipi Te Pania.
- U12 Male Surf Team - Sam Davis, Luke Higgs, William Jeffrey and Saxon Wood.
- U13 Male Surf Team - Zak Barrett, Luke Higgs, Braith Howison and Sean Law.
- U13 Female Board Rescue - Olivia Clues and Dominique Melbourn.
- U13 Female Board Relay - Olivia Clues, Ruby Lovell and Dominique Melbourn.
- U13 Female Surf Team - Olivia Clues, Zara Kasprowicz, Ruby Lovell and Dominique Melbourn.
- U14 Male Board Rescue - Braden Crichton-Browne and Kai Lilienthal.
- U14 Female Board Relay - Georgina Prowse, Elise Wallace and Ashleigh Windsham.
- U9 Male Surf Team - Max Bowmer, Kobi Mead, James Seidel and Blake Spaul.
- U9 Male Board Relay - Max Bowmer, Kobi Mead and James Seidel.
- U11 Female Surf Team – Poppy Hulbert, Isla New, Charlotte Ollivier and Jade Seidel.
- U12 Male Board Rescue - Ziggy Lester and Dane Sutton.
- U12 Male Board Relay - Joe Doran, Ziggy Lester and Dane Sutton.
Day Two Top 10
- North Curl Curl SLSC 146
- Wanda SLSC 129
- Coogee SLSC 124
- Swansea Belmont SLSC 105
- Cooks Hill SLSC 103
- North Cronulla SLSC 99
- South Maroubra SLSC 81
- Elouera SLSC 65
- North Bondi SLSC 60
- Cronulla SLSC 47