The Australian Lifesaving Team have claimed victory in the National Open at the Lifesaving World Championship. The Trans-Tasman clash promised to be a tight, exhilarating race and it certainly delivered. With a home town advantage, the Australian team clawed back the points from New Zealand who held a 9 point advantage after the Pool competitions. Not even an injured captian in Harriet Brown, could stop the Aussie team claiming 502 points at Glenelg placing them 20 points ahead of the Kiwis for a total of 896.
Ironwoman Georgia Miller was the standout for Australia winning an impressive seven gold medals while Brown, suffering ligament damage, still managed to bring home a gold with Miller in the Board Rescue. Even pool star Prue Davies helped set up success in the swim leg of the relay with Matt Bevilacqua on the board, Miller on the ski and Jackson Symonds in the final run leg. Bevilacqua had to settle for third in the Oceanman event with Kendrick Louis taking out the top spot for Australia.
France also made a valiant effort in the Open Ocean. Trailing behind in fifth after the Pool competition France amassed a massive 210 points to leap frog both Germany and Italy for a podium finish. South Africa also pushed hard over the final weekend coming home with 302 Ocean points to place them in sixth with Great Britain, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands rounding out the top ten.
While New Zealand had to settle for second in the Open their Youth team claimed gold ahead of Australia. The Aussies had a 16 point lead heading into the weekend but the Kiwi team rallied to take out the top spot 14 points ahead.
Lochlainn O’Connor made a stand out performance for the Juinor Black Fins bringing home three of their five gold medals on the final day. For the Australians team captain Lani Pallister, managed to bring home not only golds in the 200m Obstacles and 4x50m Obstacle Relay with Keeley Booth, Anthea Warne and Naomi Scott, but also world records in the 100m Medley Rescue and the 200m Super Lifesaver.
With Nationals competition now over the Lifesaving World Championships will be heading into the final week of competition, with the Inter Club Ocean and Pool events beginning on Tuesday.
With the Ninth day of competition underway at the Lifesaving World Championships a clear rivalry has started to form. The traditional cross Tasman rivals, Australia and New Zealand have emerged at the top of the overall leader boards. Currently New Zealand leads the Open Nationals teams with 403 points with Australia trailing by 9. Roles are reversed in the Youth Nationals Teams with Australia leading 526 to 510.
France is the next best positioned team placing third in the Youth and fifth in the Open. Great Britain, South Africa, Spain, USA, Canada, Hong Kong/China and Argentina round out the top ten of the Youth while Italy and Germany have placed third and fourth in the Open with Spain, Poland, China, Netherlands, Japan and Great Britain trailing behind.
Queensland duo Matt Davis and Prue Davies from the Currumbin Beach Vikings have been raking up the medals. Davies taking out four silvers across two days of competition while Davis is taking home a gold in the 100 m Rescue Medley as well as two silvers from the pool.
In the Youth competition New Zealand star Claudia Kelly has taken home six medals, with a gold in the Oceanwoman ahead of Australians Naomi Scott and Tiarnee Massie. While Scott and Massie had to settle for silver and bronze their combined forces earnt them two golds in the Board Rescue and Oceanwoman Relay along with fellow teammates Lani Pallister and Leah Rampoldi.
However, today the leader board could change as the Youth and Open swap disciplines. Open heading to the Ocean after two days of pool events while Youth are leaving the surf to compete at the Marion Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
Heading into the weekend plenty of Australian stars are heading into the surf. Look out for Australian captain Harriet Brown, along with two-time Australian surf race champion Georgia Miller and Ironmen Kendrick Louis and Matt Bevilaqua as they compete in their favoured element. There will be plenty of action over the next few days, both at the pool and in the ocean, with Australian and New Zealand battling to take out the top spot.
Ahead of the official Opening Ceremony for the Lifesaving World Championships 2018 we met with Surf Life Saving SA President John Baker to check in with how “the World’s” have been progressing so far.
“The setup is fantastic, it has been one of the best set up World Championships events ever but also I think the way we have put the infrastructure in has rivalled the Australian Championships so we are very happy with the scale of the event and arenas” said Mr Baker.
Events kicked off last week with the Masters competition beginning in the pool at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre before moving to Glenelg beach on Monday.
Mr Baker said “Masters has been going really well, of course the weather hasn’t been ideal today but the competitors are enjoying it and the feedback has been really positive from all of the Masters and the pool has been exceptional”.
Teams from around the World and Clubs across Australia will congregate on Mosely Square before marching to the Champs Hub on the Glenelg foreshore. The Hon. Mr Steven Marshall Premier of South Australia will officially open the Championships and welcome the athletes to Adelaide.
“I am looking forward to the opening ceremony tonight with the march in of 44 teams from around the world and then we will all get together to celebrate the official opening of the championships” said Mr Baker.
The International Championship events begin on Thursday with the open and youth SERC competition. Event organisers are hoping for a tight contest and some exciting racing for spectators.
“The Europeans do very well in the pool, we are expecting strong performances from Italy, France and Germany and then when we look at the Beach and Ocean we Australia, South Africa and New Zealand should do better. We would expect that it will be between Australia and New Zealand for overall point score and the Championship win but we are hoping to see a close leader board with some new countries asserting themselves” said Mr Baker.
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International Lifesaving Federation President Graham Ford welcomed the first competitors at the Lifesaving World Championships on the first day of competition today. The event began with the Masters Interclub competition at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre with Beach events to follow early next week.
Registrations for the event have made it the largest lifesaving sport event in history Mr Ford said “7000 participants from around the world who have come here to Adelaide to compete and volunteer at the Lifesaving World Championships”.
“We have competitors from all of our four regions around the world, we have lifesavers from African countries, from Asian countries, Europe and the Americas” said Mr Ford.
Event organisers are expecting record crowds at both the pool and beach competitions. With the addition of a Nippers Carnival and International IRB racing audiences can expect to see all facets of the Lifesaving movement on display.
Mr Ford said “I think there will be big crowds, especially at Glenelg. The infrastructure that has been put in is quite significant. Clare Harris (Surf Life Saving SA CEO) and her team from Surf Life Saving South Australia have done a great job putting everything together and I think we will see well over 10,000 spectators here on the two main weekends”.
When asked about the Australian team’s chances on home sand he said he thought it would be a tough contest with every point in every event counting.
“New Zealand are the reigning World Champions, they have held that title since 2012. It will get down to the last on one or two events which will be the traditional Ocean Man and Ocean Woman. Those last few events will determine who will be the World Champions and there is 45 countries vying for that title!”.