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It was a successful weekend for lifesavers from across southern NSW at the 2017 Interbranch Championships held recently at Stockton Beach near Newcastle.

In the final wash-up South Coast came away with 7th place overall while Far South Coast ended their campaign in 10th position.

On the back of a couple of good performances on the beach, Mollymook’s Sam Zustovich has been named as part of the Interstate Youth Team to compete in Adelaide in January. Zustovich took out both the Beach Sprint and Beach Flags events in the Youth (U17) category.

“I usually make the B final not the A final but it’s good to get the win. The move to the south coast is working well and looking ahead I have a number of goals. I’m looking forward to competing at the Country Champs for the first time and then State and Aussies,” he said.

For the southern branches there were a number of good performances with competitors gaining confidence leading into February’s NSW Country Championships to be held at South West Rocks.

Nowra’s Chad Poland is an experienced athlete, but he was relishing leading the wave of a different kind by mentoring his younger counterparts.

“It is good fun getting in with the younger guys to race and my hope is to compete and jag a wave.

“To be honest they’re the reason I’m still coming to these events. They’re a great bunch of kids to train with, and Interbranch is a big step up and a great chance for those athletes to see what it’s all about,” he said.

The 42-strong team from the Far South Coast was also pleased with their efforts over the weekend, with the U13 contingent in particular putting in some solid performances.

Jackson Blake (Batemans Bay) proved he was one to watch with a second place in the U13s Swim and a third place in the Ironman.

Team Coach along with last-minute Team Manager, Andrew Holt from Pambula, said the 12-hour bus ride to get to Stockton was worth the effort.

“We’re not getting flogged this year which is great. We’re going to take lots of our nippers to the Country Champs in February and the kids that have done well here will go to the State Championships,” said Andrew Holt.

The Far South team had the benefit of Nth Cronulla draftee Emily Maythers who gained valuable points for the team in the open water events.

“It’s been great having Emily drafted to the team, it’s been good for our young girls. She’s a great competitor and a great role model,” said Andrew Holt.

The NSW Director of Surf Sport, Don van Keimpema, thanked the Stockton club and the Hunter Branch for hosting the Championships this year and congratulated all the athletes, team managers, coaches and officials for their efforts.

“We’re hoping to build this event to be one of the premier events in the state. The team environment we had this weekend was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Following the Interbranch Championships, NSW selectors convened to finalise the team to contest the Interstate Championships and along with Zustovich, former South Coast competitors Hayden White and Kirsty Higgison were also given a berth.


Tuesday 19 December 2017