Both New Zealand lifesaving teams, the Black Fins and Junior Black Fins, have entered into epic battles with Australia at the Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide with the world title likely to come down to the final day.
The New Zealand national youth lifesaving team, the Junior Black Fins, secured an impressive 13 medals today in what was one of the most successful days the team has ever had. Despite this, they have lost the overnight lead they held over Australia but are only 16 points adrift, but vow to fight back in the pool and say “there is more to come over the next few days.”
After holding the overnight lead, the Junior Black Fins took four gold medals, and nine silver, in a variety of ocean events at Glenelg Beach which the athletes says is “hard on the feet”.
“We are so proud of the whole team after today. It has been a huge team effort and you can see everyone is working really hard for each other, and putting performances out there that they’re proud of,” said Junior Black Fins Coach Matt Cairns.
“While I’m so proud of them, I’m not at all surprised. As coaches, we see the work they put in over months and years, and they’ve prepared really well. It’s just now that the world can see what they are capable of,” he added.
Claudia Kelly from New Plymouth (East End SLSC), took home six medals today including gold in the prestigious Ironwoman event, against two very fierce Australian competitors who finished in second and third.
The Ironwoman and Ironman events are known to be one of the toughest events on the schedule due to the format which includes swimming, running, surf ski paddling and board paddling.
Another standout performance was Zac Reid, who dominated the swimming races and took home three gold medals today in what was described as an “outstanding performance”.
Meanwhile the Black Fins had another strong day in the pool, taking home three medals with Carina Doyle (St Clair SLSC), Chris Dawson (Midway SLSC), and Steven Kent (Titahi Bay SLSC).
“We had a solid day today and saw a lot of heart from the team in everything they did, especially with the massive workloads they had,” said Black Fins Head Coach, Jason Pocock.
“Steven [Kent] made all the individual A-Finals for the second time, which is just epic. We believe he’s the only person in history to do it and he’s now done it twice, which is just incredible,” he added.
This effort meant the Black Fins ended the pool section of the event tied with Australia on equal points – ultimately meaning the World Championship bid will come down to the next two days on the beach.
Pocock said they always knew the pool competition would be close, but they’re ready for the challenge on the beach to bring home the world title again.
“We’re confident of doing well on the beach as we have the athletes and the ability to get the job done. Australia are a massive force but we back ourselves 100%.”
The two teams now switch venues, with the Black Fins heading to Glenelg Beach for a series of ocean events while the Junior Black Fins head to the South Australia Aquatic Centre for the pool events, with two days of competition still remaining.
Junior Black Fins
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157