Prized Trophy Up For Grabs As Enforced Absence Ends

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

After a Covid enforced absence the first Surf Lifesaving New Zealand Pool Rescue nationals in two years is set to take Auckland by storm this weekend.  Pool Rescue swimmers from across the country will converge on the National Aquatic Centre this weekend to battle for the prized Paul Kent Memorial Trophy. 

At the last nationals, in 2020 in Hamilton, the title was shared by Orewa and Mount Maunganui with both teams collecting 178 points across the juniors and seniors competitions.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone involved in surf lifesaving in New Zealand sports events,” Surf Lifesaving New Zealand Sport Manager Lewis McClintock says.

“We’ve had to call events off or restrict numbers for Covid-related reasons so to be able to run a full programme Pool Rescue nationals in Auckland this weekend is great.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone in one place and being able to enjoy some great quality racing.”

With the World Championships having just finished in Riccione, Italy there will be plenty of inspiration for swimmers both young and old to take onboard as they ready themselves for the event.  Mairangi Bay’s Steve Kent and Fergus Eadie fresh off their Black Fins campaign where they picked up several medals, including a world title in the tube rescue in Riccione, will be lining up. 

But they can’t expect to have it all their own way this weekend, there are no doubt plenty of contenders aiming to take home titles and clubs looking to add their name to the overall winner’s trophy.

“Having seen the results from the regional pool rescue competitions it’s fair to say we’re expecting a lot of great racing,” McClintock says.

“We’ve got really strong numbers racing across all the age groups, from juniors all the way through to the masters, which is really encouraging.”

One of the highlights McClintock has pointed out is the number of composite teams the event organisers have been able to pull together.

“The team wanted to ensure as many of our junior swimmers got the chance to race in relays,” he says.

“We know that not all clubs are able to bring together a full complement of swimmers in specific age groups so we gave the option for them to put in expressions of interest to make up composite teams.

“And it’s had a great response, we’ve got 15 teams that have been able to be put together that will give all of them a chance to have at least one more race.”

Pool Rescue nationals signals the end of the winter season as lifeguards around the country gear up for the return of the public to beaches, patrols to recommence and the red and yellow flags to go back up.

“This event continues to serve as an important opportunity for our lifeguards and aspiring lifeguards to develop important lifesaving skills for the summer season ahead,” McClintock says.

The event kicks off on Friday morning with junior events running all day. The senior competition then takes over from Saturday morning with proceedings due to wrap up mid-afternoon on Sunday when the Paul Memorial Kent trophy winner will once again be crowned.

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