The first event of the Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) sport calendar is set to kick off this weekend with the three-day SLSNZ Pool Rescue Championships, held at AUT Millennium on Auckland’s North Shore.
With a high calibre of athletes set to take part, including the national New Zealand Surf Life Saving team dubbed the Black Fins, the event is set to be a tight weekend of racing for the 541 athletes registered to take part.
The Black Fins are using this event as their last opportunity for training ahead of the Lifesaving World Championship (LWC) taking place next month in Adelaide. The Black Fins are the current lifesaving world champions and will be looking to defend their title, with these Pool Rescue Championships playing a key part in their final preparations.
An added bonus is having visitors from Australia also taking part, with a team from New South Wales, who are also using the New Zealand event as an important session for development.
However, there is also a lot of high quality surf lifeguards taking part from clubs right around the country who will also throw the challenge down to the international competitors. Athletes are travelling from as far south as Dunedin with St Clair SLSC and Brighton SLSC, to as far north as Omaha SLSC north of Auckland.
The three-day programme is packed full of events for the athletes to compete in, starting on Friday at 9.00am with the junior Under-11 50 metre swim with fins. The event then continues across Saturday and Sunday before finishing with the 133rd race - the open mixed 300 metre MEGA relay.
Event manager, Ross Merrett, said this event will be a fantastic start to the summer season for competitors with so many good athletes to go head-to-head with.
“This event has so many talented athletes taking part so the racing will be close and exciting to watch for spectators. It will definitely be a good start to the summer season for everyone.
“Plus, it’s great to have the Black Fins and our Australian counterparts joining us. They are some of the best athletes in the world so to have them join us and put on a few racing demonstrations, as well as taking part, will be fantastic for the event. We’re sure the competitors are looking forward to seeing them in action ahead the [Lifesaving] World Championships.”
The Black Fins will take part in a number of demonstration races for the athletes during the event, from late on Friday until Sunday afternoon.
Stay up to date with the latest news from this event on the Surf Life Saving New Zealand Facebook page.
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157