Forty-four national records were broken at the biggest ever national pool rescue championships over the weekend that saw Mount Maunganui claim the overall event honours.
The three-day competition showcased the skills of a record 567 lifeguards at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland from October 2-4.
The entries were spread across members from 33 Surf Life Saving Clubs in New Zealand; 168 from the Northern Region, 195 from the Eastern Region, 133 from the Central Region and 40 from the Southern Region. The remaining 31 entries are international competitors from China and Australia.
The competition was opened in style on Friday afternoon with 21 New Zealand Pool Championship records broken across 45 events. The remaining 23 records were broken across Saturday and Sunday morning.
Some of the standout performances came from young Lyall Bay athlete Alaynah Bettany who set two new individual records in the Under 16 100m Manikin Tow with Fins and the 100m Manikin Carry with Fins. She also set a team record with her Lyall Bay teammates Megan Cox, Ella Kingi and Emma Riseley in the Under 16 4x25m Manikin Relay with a time of 1.49.23.
Fellow Under 16 competitor Oscar Williams (Whangamata) set three new individual records in the men's 50m Manikin Carry without Fins, 100m Manikin Carry with Fins and 100m Manikin Tow with Fins. Midway's Olivia Corrin set another two records in the Under 16 200m Swim with Obstacles and 50m Manikin Carry without Fins.
In the Under 19 division, Papamoa's Jacob Hales set an impressive five individual records in the 50m Swim with Fins, 100m Manikin Carry with Fins, 50m Manikin Carry without Fins, 100m Manikin tow with Fins and 100m Rescue Medley. Along with his Papamoa teammates Scott Miller, Justin Pickering and Ethan Clouston, they also set a new record in the Under 19 4x50m Medley Relay.
Wainui's Laura Quilter set the only Open national record in the Women's 50m Swim with Fins in a time of 22.31, breaking the current women's record of 22.35 set by Mairangi Bay's Marina McCartney at last year's New Zealand Pool Championships.
However, Papamoa's Madison Kidd clocked an even quicker time in the Under 19 50m Swim with Fins to create a new record of 22.21, breaking her own personal best of 22.32 set at last month's Northern Region pool champs. She also set a new record in the Under 19 100m Manikin Tow with Fins in a time of 1.04.37, once again breaking her own record of 1.05.71.
With a total of 127 points, Mount Maunganui finished on top of the club points table to take out the Paul Kent Memorial Trophy.
Mairangi Bay finished in second place with 87 points and Papamoa in third on 81 points. Fourth and fifth placings were close with Waikanae on 80.5 and Lyall Bay on 80.
Waikanae took out the Masters competition on 19 points followed by Fitzroy with 15 points and Mt Maunganui in third on nine points.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Sport Manager Mike Lord says the New Zealand Pool Championships is always a great way to kick-off the surf sports season and this year's event didn't disappoint.
"New Zealand is really setting the way with pool rescue and having a record number of entries from our clubs along with entries from Australia and China is proof of that.
"The performances over the weekend from some of the younger athletes right through to the Open ranks really illustrates the strength of our swimmers and up and coming athletes."
As a result, the New Zealand selectors added five athletes to the New Zealand Youth Squad and one to the New Zealand Open Squad.
They include Locklainn O'Conner (Mt Maunganui), Oscar Williams (Whangamata), Jenna Barrett (New Plymouth Old Boys), Alaynah Bettany (Lyall Bay) and Jessica Blakeman (Midway). Papamoa's Jacob Hales was added to the New Zealand Open Squad following his fantastic performance in the Under 19 age group.
Mr Lord says it was fantastic to see the inclusion of the six athletes who all performed outstandingly and consistently over the weekend with a large number of national records being broken.
On the final day of competition, the team of eight to represent New Zealand at next month's European pool competitions was named. The team includes Wainui's Laura Quilter, St Clair's Andrew McMillan, Andrew Trembath and Carina Doyle, Midway's Chris Dawson, Papamoa's Natalie Peat, Lyall Bay's Samantha Lee and Titahi Bay's Steven Kent.
They will depart New Zealand on November 12 with coach Steve Ferguson and team manager Mark Weatherall. The Orange Cup (formally known as the BeNe Cup) will be held in the Netherlands from November 14-15 at the Rescue 2016 pool venue, and the German Cup will run from November 20-21 in Warendorf. The team will then return from Germany on Sunday November 22.
Alongside the 567 athletes were around 50 officials, water crews and volunteers to assist with running the annual event.
"We couldn't run events like this without them and we're grateful for their help and support in making the event such a success," Mr Lord says.
Click here for more information and a full breakdown of session results.
Mt. Maunganui LGS, 127
Mairangi Bay SLSC, 87
Papamoa SLSC, 81
Waikanae SLSC, 80.5
Lyall Bay SLSC, 80
Piha SLSC, 55
Midway SLSC, 54
Red Beach SLSC, 50
St. Clair SLSC, 45
Orewa SLSC, 39
Whangamata SLSC, 29
Sumner SLSC, 19
East End SLSC, 16
Wainui SLSC, 15
Whakatane SLSC, 14
Maranui SLSC, 13.5
Titahi Bay SLSC, 12
Fitzroy SLSC, 11
New Plymouth Old Boys SLSC, 8
Otaki SLSC, 8
Omanu SLSC, 5
Muriwai Lifeguard Service, 3
Waikuku Beach SLSC, 2
Westshore SLSC, 2
Worser Bay SLSC, 1
Masters club points:
Waikanae SLSC, 19
Fitzroy SLSC, 15
Mt. Maunganui LGS, 9
Worser Bay SLSC, 6
Wainui SLSC, 5
East End SLSC, 3
Whangamata SLSC, 3
Orewa SLSC, 2
Waimarama SLSC, 1
Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823