Kiwi lifesavers eye up World Games gold

Thursday, 13 July 2017

It's been eight years since New Zealand last sent a lifesaving team to the World Games and the selected athletes, with a good mixture of experience, are well prepared and raring to go.

The 2017 World Games multi-sport event is taking place in Wroclaw, Poland from July 20-July 30 with over 30 sports featured in the Games.

The lifesaving component is a pool competition only, taking place from July 21-22 at the Orbita Sports Complex and New Zealand will join teams from Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland and Spain.

This weekend, prior to their departure, the team of 10 (five male, five female) will take part in a camp in Auckland which will involve numerous training sessions, team building activities and one-on-one meetings with coach Jonelle Quane.

The team will then depart from Auckland on Monday evening for Poland via San Francisco and Frankfurt, arriving in Poland on Tuesday July 18.

New Zealand team manager Mark Weatherall says one of the biggest challenges will be coping with the tight turnaround of travelling for 48 hours and then straight into racing the best in the world.

They have very little time for sightseeing but plan to have a look around the town on Wednesday afternoon between training sessions. One of the highlights for the team will be the official World Games opening ceremony on July 20.

The first day of racing on Friday July 21 will be the 200m Obstacles, 4x50m Obstacles, 100m Manikin Carry and 200m Super Lifesaver followed by the 50m Manikin Carry, 4x25m Manikin Carry, 100m Manikin Tow and 4x50m Medley Relay on the second day of competition.

All of the events are designed to test the technique, fitness and motivation of the athletes in a real life rescue situation but in a controlled pool environment.

The biggest competition is likely to come from Australia, Italy, Germany and France but Mr Weatherall says the team has prepared well and they're in with a real chance of success.

The team is made up of a mixture of athletes; some world champions, some with numerous international experience and others who are putting on the black cap for the first time.

"They are ready to embrace the opportunity to take part in this event and achieve the best possible outcome," he says.

It will be the second time Weatherall has been to the World Games, having attended in 2009 as assistant team manager.

"The purpose of this trip will be similar to 2009 which was around creating an opportunity for our developing athletes to experience this very unique event.

"With 28 different sports and over 4000 athletes, it will be like the Commonwealth or Olympics Games for lifesaving."

Team captain Steven Kent (Titahi Bay) will be heading into the competition with three world championships under his belt and a resume including top male competitor at the 2013 and 2015 German Cup pool competitions.

Kent says the World Games will be a good opportunity to test where he's at since competing at the 2016 Lifesaving World Championships.

He plans to lead from the front in terms of showing his team mates what New Zealand can do on the world stage.

"Coming off the back of Worlds last year where we were the best pool team puts on a little bit of pressure but because it's a newer team there's also excitement to have that pride behind that and for them it's to give them a chance to prove themselves as well and looking ahead to next year to refill our ranks and keep improving as a nation of pool lifesavers," he says.

Kent will be supported by Papamoa's Natalie Peat as Vice-Captain who is also a member of the 2014 and 2016 World Champion Black Fins.

To keep up-to-date with the journey, visit the SLSNZ High Performance Facebook page or on Twitter and Instagram @SLSNZHP.

World Games: New Zealand team:

Steven Kent - Titahi Bay (Captain)
Adam Simpson - Mt Maunganui
Andrew Trembath - St Clair
Jacob Hales - Papamoa
Oscar Williams - Piha
Natalie Peat - Papamoa (Vice-Captain)
Carina Doyle - St Clair
Ella Drinnan - Orewa
Madison Kidd - Papamoa
Olivia Corrin - Midway

Jonelle Quane - Coach
Mark Weatherall - Manager
Daniel Grant - Assistant Coach
Johnny Clough- Technical Official


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager, SLSNZ
Phone 0276 488 823