The New Zealand team has boosted their chances of success at the Lifesaving World Championships (LWC) by taking home a total of 10 medals today, with 20 personal best times for the athletes, mixed in with three New Zealand records.
The medals were split across the two national teams – the Black Fins, and the youth team dubbed the Junior Black Fins whose athletes are aged under 19-years old.
The Black Fins took home five of those medals, and competed in the majority of the finals held today showing the depth of talent that exists in the team, even at this top level of the sport.
Andrew Trembath (St Clair SLSC), who won two medals today including a gold in the line throw with Max Beattie (Omanu SLSC), said the team’s attitude and commitment to the sport is what got them the results today.
“The team really stepped up today and went over and above what was expected. It was such an exciting vibe amongst the team today, especially when we won medals. Even where we didn’t get medals, we were so close to it,” he said.
On a personal level, Trembath said he simply took Jason Pocock’s advice (Head Coach) and “focused on enjoying myself and the experience,” which he credits with helping his results today.
Jonelle Quane, Assistant Coach, agreed with Trembath but said “today was just epic. It was more than we could have hoped for.”
“There was lots of close races today. Everyone [Black Fins] dug that little bit deeper, put their heart into it, and they produced amazing results because of it. New Zealand can be really proud of them today,” she said.
“The sport has moved forward a lot over the last few years and has become so much more elite and competitive. So it’s really positive for us to see that we’re moving with it, and even leading some of it,” she continued.
The same could be said for the Junior Black Fins who were also stars today, taking home a total of five medals across three events, including three golds and two silvers.
Despite an overnight storm that destroyed the host-venue beach, the Junior Black Fins were able to start later in the day to compete in the Beach Sprints, Beach Relay and Beach Flags.
Briana Irving from Gisborne (Waikanae SLSC) became the youth World Champion in the Beach Sprints event by taking home gold, and then converted that with her three team-mates – Sasha Reid (Fitzroy SLSC), Tessa Bradley (Mount Maunganui LS) and Lucy Makaea (Piha SLSC), into another gold in the Beach Relay event.
Irving said “it was fantastic being out there racing today, and I’m so thrilled with how it all turned out. I am super proud to wear the black cap and represent New Zealand and be here with the Junior Black Fins.”
Aidan Smith (Papamoa SLSC) also impressed today by taking home three medals – a silver in both the Beach Sprint and Beach Flags event, with a gold in the Beach Relay which he won with his teammates Declan Dempster (Mount Maunganui LS), Oscar Williams (Piha SLSC), and Mitch Cowdrey (Papamoa SLSC).
A total of three New Zealand records were broken today, with one going to Gisborne athlete, Olivia Corrin, who broke the 200 metre obstacle race record, with a time of 2.12.31 in the Under-19 age bracket.
Trembath also broke Steven Kent’s 100-metre manikin tow record this afternoon, which Kent broke earlier this morning, but had previously held ahead of the event.
Perhaps the most important record to the team, though, was the 4x 50-metre Mixed Pool Lifesaver Relay with a time of 1:50.29. The race was expected to be dominated by the European teams due to their experience, but today’s third place result, and subsequent New Zealand record, shows how much hard work the Black Fins team have put in.
“That race [mixed pool lifesaver relay] really shows the strength and skills of the teams across various types of races, so to see New Zealand up there on the podium is just awesome. We’ve worked hard on training over the past year to get that result, so it was a really big result for us and we’re rapt,” Quane explained.
There are still three more days of competition for both teams before the finale on Sunday. Tomorrow sees the Black Fins return to the South Australia Aquatic Centre again from 11.30am New Zealand time, while the Junior Black Fins return to the beach to compete in the ocean events after today’s delay.
Photo: Lester Kelly
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157