Lifesavers from across the Illawarra are basking in the glow of a successful State Championship campaign returning from Blacksmiths Beach with 11 medals in their luggage.
After watching their junior counterparts perform strongly the previous week it was the turn of the region’s best senior athletes to line-up last weekend in the U15, 17, 19 and Open divisions.
Bulli were the best performing club finishing the competition with 31 points ahead of Thirroul, Wollongong City, and Helensburgh-Stanwell Park.
Leading the way for Bulli was the club’s all conquering Male Open Surf Boat crew who confirmed their status as one of the best teams in Australia with another resounding victory. The team of Benjamin Lowe, Heath Mercer, Dean Roberts, Fraser Worthington and sweep Shane Geloven proved too strong for their rivals on the way to their fifth consecutive State Title.
There was more joy for the club when the U23 Male Surf Boat Team also became state champions after another powerful row.
The Bulli U17 Female Surf Team finished with a silver medal in their race, the Open Female Surf Team claimed bronze as did Sian Bourke in the 2.5km Ocean Swim.
Wollongong City finished the three-day competition with two medals including the Female Reserve Grade Boat Crew (Ainsleigh Christlo, Jessica Grozdanov, Karri Ryan and Sasha Ryan) and the U19 Female 5 Person Rescue and Resuscitation Team (Maddison Delaney, Jade Gray, Kaitlin Hearne, Elle-May Wilson and Emily Woods) who both finished with silver medals.
Thirroul SLSC also picked up two medals on the beach thanks to the efforts of Jazmine Yew (U19 Female Beach Flags) who finished with a gold medal, and Darci Air (U17 2km Beach Run) who claimed bronze.
Rounding out the medals for Illawarra athletes was Jack Bridges (Helensburgh Stanwell-Park) who is now the top U15 Beach Flagger in NSW thanks to his efforts in a highly competitive final.
There were also some great performances among the Masters competitors last week, with Davina Strauss from Coledale taking out the 35-39 year Beach Sprint and Beach Flags double. Ian Manley from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park claimed gold in the 30-39 Champion Lifesaver event.
In the older age divisions, Thirroul’s Jeff Wall (65-69 year Board) and Ross Taylor (70+ Board Race) both picked up gold. Bellambi’s Gina Crick proved she still has what it takes, winning the 60-64 year Beach Flags. From Fairy Meadow, Jeff Banks and Noel Gracie came across the line first in the 65-69 year Board Rescue and Jeff won the Ironman event.
NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon said it was a highly successful competition contested at Swansea Belmont for 2018.
“I would like to congratulate everyone for their efforts over the last three weekends of competition. We’ve seen some extremely close and exciting finishes and the weather and conditions have allowed us to showcase the very best of surf sports in NSW,” said Mr Pidgeon.
“The volunteer team from Swansea Belmont have hosted another fantastic event, with great support from Lake Macquarie City Council,” said Rob Pidgeon.
2018 Open Championship Club Point Score
- Newport SLSC (553)
- Manly LSC (247)
- Wanda SLSC (221)
- North Bondi SLSC (204)
- North Cronulla SLSC (198)
- Cronulla SLSC (196)
- Umina SLSC (144)
- Redhead SLSC (144)
- Elouera SLSC (134)
- Coogee SLSC (118)
The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club will return to Blacksmiths Beach in 2019 for another exciting edition of the state’s largest surf sport event.
Thursday 15 March 2018