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Past friendships will be renewed and that competitive rivalry which has never quite faded is sure to be on display when the Masters Athletes take Blacksmiths Beach for the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships on Wednesday morning.

Over 1000 athletes from 83 clubs aged between 30 to over 70 will be action across the two days of competition. Many of the competitors have been involved at the recently concluded Age Championships as parents, coaches, or officials, and will be undoubtedly be keen to test their skills in what has been challenging conditions at one of Lake Macquarie’s premier beaches.

Some of those who will take to the water or beach track have international experience at World Masters games, been an Australian medallist in the past, or even represented their country on tour.

One of Surf Life Saving’s greatest strengths is its inclusivity – and because it promotes not only fitness but a healthy lifestyle competitors are able to do it long after the final whistle has sounded on the footy field or other sporting endevour. It’s not unusual for multi-generations to train alongside one another and it’s this that has played a key role in the development of the Surf Life Saving culture.

In 2017 all 11 branches will be represented at The Masters Championships as the athletes look to end their season on a high or tune up for a tilt at next month’s Australian Titles.

Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches will field the largest team sending over 200 athletes each with Central Coast not far behind.

Hunter will field a strong team of 139 competitors including the Chair of the Organising Committee for the State Championships Graham Burge who won an Australian Title on the Board in the 1990s.

The Lower North Coast will field a team of 20 athletes while Mid North Coast, North Coast and Far North Coast will also be competing.

Pleasingly a small contingent of 11 athletes from the state’s Far South have also entered along with competitors from the South Coast and Illawarra.

There will be a number of intriguing subplots in this year’s event. Can Dori Miller continue on her winning ways? Will Paul Lemmon’s dominance in the water continue?

The 30-35 age group promises again to be highly competitive with many of the athletes using the opportunity to warm-up before taking on the young guns in the Open Championships later this weekend.

If past results are anything to go by and especially if the conditions are challenging the nous and experience of these competitors could very easily come to the fore.

Cudgen Headland’s Nadi Canning has been in exceptional form over the last 18 months and will be hoping to bring her Country form to the big stage.

Bondi Surf Bathers are in the unknown position of defending champions for the first time – it remains to be seen how they handle being the hunted. Beach rivals North Bondi and former winners Queenscliff will certainly be more than competitive.

As always the team events will be a popular edition on the program with the athlete revelling in the chance to compete with their friends in some highly entertaining races.


Wednesday 8 March 2017