2016 Lifesaving World Championships | The Netherlands
2014 Lifesaving World Championships | Montpellier, France
It took 14 years but in 2012, the Black Fins finally broke the
Aussie stronghold on the World Championship title and wrestled the
cup off Australia. In 2014, the determination was there to back up
the win and to create New Zealand surf lifesaving history!
We knew it would be very challenging; not only did we have to be
concerned about a wounded Aussie team, but we had the likes of
France chomping at the bit to get on the podium.
But the Black Fins were determined to give it their all to
create history. The campaign was slightly different to that of 2012
in that we didn't have much resource and, of course, the Worlds
were in France, rather than Australia.
The team's belief was also backed up by others outside the team,
including two very special Kiwis - All Blacks coach Steve Hanson
and Victoria Cross soldier Willy Apiata. These two men not only
added to what the team had developed, but they reinforced the
values of the team and what they meant to them; this was hugely
powerful and we often referred back to these two men in our team
Our aim was to leave the pool in front and look to build on that
on the beach, as we did in 2012. There were many successes in the
pool, but a few challenges in the SERC events meant we finished
second behind France.
We had done our homework with a site visit 12 months before so
the beach athletes were more than ready for flat, hard and a
sometimes potholed beach at Le Grande Motte. In the early stages of
Day One at the beach, the Australian team began to crawl their way
back into the event with a handful of good wins.
The Black Fins worked very hard throughout that day and
something that will always stick in my mind is Steve Kent's
performance in the Tube Rescue with Captain Andy McMillan. As Steve
ran in to make his way to the buoys, he dislocated his knee. This
was unknown to us until post- race! We all thought he had pulled
his hamstring. It was a massive effort and the lift that gave the
team was out of this world. The second key moment was when Chanel
Hickman knocked her arch rival Melissa Howard out of the Beach
Flags. In doing so, Melissa broke her collar bone. The composure
Chanel showed alongside her team mate Paul Cracoft-Wilson
(Melissa's partner) was outstanding; the event was stopped for
close to 40 minutes before Chanel went on to win the title.
The heart showed by the 2014 Black Fins was outstanding and got
them across the line to take the win comfortably while creating New
Zealand history. Bring on Rescue 2016! (Mark Weatherall, Team
2012 Lifesaving World Championships | Adelaide, Australia
Our Kiwi team was on top of the world having taken the title of
Rescue 2012 World Champs for the first time in 14 years.
Rescue 2012 was held in Adelaide, South Australia, from November
7-18 with events held across three venues including Glenelg and
Christie's beaches and the state-of-the-art South Australian State
Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
New Zealand sent two teams to compete - the open NZ Team (which
included Olympians Steve Kent, Steven Ferguson, Andrew McMillan and
Natasha Hind) and the Under 20's who competed in the inaugural
Under 20 World Championships, held at Rescue 2012. The athletes
were meticulously prepared and from the start went in fighting,
ready to take the title from the Australians on their home
The Black Fins finished with 844 points to Australia's 765. Key
successes came with five golds from the women in the pool including
three golds from Samantha Lee on the first day, breaking three
world records in the 100 metre rescue medley, the 200 metre
obstacle race and the 4 x 50 metre obstacle relay.
Natasha Hind won two gold medals, erasing two seconds off the
world record in the 200 metre super lifesaver and shattering the
New Zealand record by almost 10 seconds. She also claimed gold in
the 50 metre manikin carry, breaking the national record in the
Both the male (Kevin Morrison and Max Beattie) and female (Nikki
Cox and Devon Halligan) board rescue teams won with Halligan also
winning the women's ski race. Chanel Hickman added to the lustre
with a beach flags win. The New Zealand women's' taplin team
finished in style, winning the last event of the championships. New
Zealand captain Andy McMillan couldn't suppress his jubilation,
having battled a knee injury throughout the build-up and having
swum himself delirious in the pool.
"The Australians are like big brothers to us and a lot of the
team train at Aussie clubs alongside these superstars", he says.
After the event NZ team captain Andy McMillan commented "Beating
them on their home beach is one thing but we absolutely smashed
them and that is an incredible feeling. We came here with a mission
and we achieved it and the whole team is jumping out of their
skins. This feeling will stay with us for the rest of our lives." -
Andy McMillan, Team Captain
1998 Lifesaving World Championships | Auckland, New
This international event was hosted by Muriwai in West Auckland
and the Waitakere City Aquatic Centre for sea and pool events,
though sea conditions saw some events transferred to Long Bay on
Auckland's North Shore. Any world championships require
significant dedication and stamina by the organising team and
others involved and this event was no exception.
Rescue 98 encompassed three competitions, the national team's
events, master's events, and interclub teams events. The National
Teams event was won convincingly by New Zealand for the first time
following superb efforts in the pool and winning or placing in
enough beach events to secure the world crown. The defending
champions Surf Lifesaving Australia and Surf Life Saving South
Africa were second and third respectively.
Outstanding performances by the New Zealand team including Trent
Bray and Jackie Read in the pool (two golds), Cory Hutchings on the
paddle board and IronMan (two golds) and Callum Taylor in the beach
sprints and flags (two golds) gave New Zealand the edge over the
traditional rivals. Medalists also included Anna Ballara (gold)
with Anna Robson, Paul Bethell, Duane Dalton and Kelly Piper all
contributing to the gold, silver and bronze tally. This team
was welded together by a dedicated management and coaching
New Plymouth Old Boys starred in the World Interclub
Championships going neck to neck with Durban Surf (South Africa)
for top honours. Opunake (Taranaki) won the world IRB single and
team rescue events with Lyall Bay (Wellington) a creditable second
in the rescue race. The World Masters Championships witnessed a
good turnout of Lifeguards aged 30 to 65 years (plus). New Zealand
Masters competed with credit and many featured in the medal stakes.
There is always an extra sense of fun and friendship connected with
any Masters championships and Rescue 98 was no different.
The next Life Saving World Championships will be held in Sydney
in April 2000. After this the Championships will be held every four