A decade’s worth of frustration and near misses for the Australian Life Saving Team was put to rest on Sunday as the green and gold were crowned world champions for the first time since 2010 on their home turf.
The cheers rang out loud and proud over South Australia’s Glenelg Beach as the enormity of the moment sunk in.
After an intense competition across the pool, sand, and beach Australia had held on to win by a 20-point-margin over their closest rivals; the three-time-winning New Zealand Black Fins.
Unbelievably scores were level at 387 points apiece after the pool events were done and dusted with the ocean events set to play the defining role in the overall title.
Manly’s Kendrick Louis was the lone NSW representative in the Open team and the recently crowned Australian Surf Sport Athlete of the Year was in fine form taking out the Oceanman Title.
But it was another former NSW competitor the ex-Newport, now Northcliffe athlete, Georgia Miller who would have a day she wouldn’t forget winning seven gold medals and playing a key role in the pool rescue events.
The 2018 Coolangatta Gold champion won the Oceanwoman title as well as other victories came in the open surf race, beach relay, Rescue-tube-Rescue and the board rescue with injured Australian team captain Harriet Brown.
“It’s so exciting and a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in this team and I’m just so thankful to be here and the guys were absolutely incredible; I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved , the coaching staff, the management, its been absolutely flawless and to come away with the win, its amazing, I’m so excited,” said Miller.
“We went in knowing Hariett was injured and we knew we all had to lift and she did too, she managed to get third in that (Oceanwoman), she just gritted her teeth and got it done.
“I’m lucky the girls around me had so much support for me and got me there; I was a little out of my comfort zone in some of my events but I’m really happy with the individuals as well; it’s the second world Ironwoman title so I can’t complain.
“It did get a bit stressful (with the Kiwis breathing down our necks) but we managed to bring it out in the end in the Ocean Relay,” she said.
And while there were celebrations for the Australian Open Team there was heartache for the Youth Team, going down to New Zealand by 14 points in the overall point-score.
The healthy number of NSW competitors selected for the Youth Championships suggests generation next are more than capable of making the step up into the senior ranks and next year’s State Titles could be very competitive indeed.
Naomi Scott (Manly) was named co-captain of the team and was joined in the squad by Keeley Booth (Avoca Beach), the Redhead duo of Jack Curran and Bailey Proud, Michael Hannah (Elouera), Leah Rampoldi (North Cronulla), and Anthea Warne (Cudgen Headland).
Among a host of encouraging performances from the talented teenagers was Michael Hannah grabbing the beach sprint-flags double and North Cronulla’s Leah Rampoldi collecting gold in her specialist beach flags and bronze in the beach sprint.
Surf Life Saving NSW congratulates the Australian team on their success at the 2018 World Surf Life Saving Championships.
Monday 26 Novemebr 2018