Teams from the Great Lakes have brought home some great results from the Envirobank NSW Country Championships, which took place on February 3-4.
For the third and final year, South West Rocks Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) hosted the event, which featured more than 1500 competitors fighting it out in a full carnival program from juniors right through to masters events.
Almost 40 clubs competed in this year’s event from as far south as Tathra.
From Cape Hawke SLSC, Isabella FitzGerald took gold in the beach flags under 10 grand final, and Adam Mulligan won the beach sprint in the 40-49 male category. Julian Fitzgerald won the same event in under 14 males, and Isabella FitzGerald took gold in the under 10 females event.
Rounding out Cape Hawke’s great run, the team of Raelene Carmichael, Jennifer Curtis, Leanne Irving and Natalia Kelly brought home first place in the surf boat 180 yrs min grand final event.
Forster SLSC also returned some great results, with Kim Winter winning the female 2km beach run in the 50-59 bracket, James Williams taking out the under 11 male beach flags grand final, and Andrew Jones taking gold in the male short board, 40-49 age bracket.
Cudgen Headland SLSC cemented its position over the other teams in the championships, finishing more than 400 points ahead of the closest rivals.
Sawtell SLSC staged a huge effort to unseat last year’s champions, but the northern powerhouse proved too strong. Former country champions for more than a decade, Byron Bay finished in third place.
A virtual clean sweep of the iron and taplin races was backed up by solid performances by key competitors including Anthea Warne and Luke Chaffer.
The open ironman was won by Luke Chaffer, the under 19 event by Kai Onley, the under 17 ironman was Josh Jones and Joseph Warne took out the under 15 event.
It’s a great opportunity for some of our kids who haven’t been to the country champs before.- Adam Mills
In the ironwoman, Anthea Warne won the under 17 event, then backed up to get second in the open event. The under 14 race was won by Lily O’Sullivan.
Anthea Warne also delivered a trifecta in the water with firsts in the under 17 board, swim and ski races. Luke Chaffer did the same in the open male board, swim and ski.
The success of the Cudgen team bodes well for next year when the club hosts the 2019 and 2020 Championships on their home turf.
Cudgen Headland club president Adam Mills put the success of the team down to their commitment and some great coaching.
“We’ve got some good programs at the moment and we’ve been able to offer extra opportunities which has meant we’ve been able to hold onto our competitors, rather than lose them to the Queensland clubs,” he said.
“Our head coach, Scott McCartney is fantastic, the kids love training with him and they’re happy to come to training.”
The club is looking forward to welcoming competitors from around the state when it hosts the event next year, the first time since 2003.
“We’re really excited and it’s a great opportunity for some of our kids who haven’t been to the country champs before,” Adam added.
The event injects millions of dollars into the local economy and the support of the Kempsey Shire Council and event partner Envirobank is crucial to its success.
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