The best of Victoria’s lifesaving athletes and some of the state’s highest performing teams are busy gearing up to take part in next month’s state championships, following a solid aquatic sports carnival season for 2019-20.
Teams from across the state are all set to compete in the Junior and Senior State Championships at Warrnambool SLSC and Lorne SLSC on March 7-9 and March 21-23 respectively.
LSV Manager Aquatic Sports Kirsty Clark praised the efforts of all competitors, including the state’s high performing teams, for an action-packed season.
“As LSV’s surf sports carnival for the 2019-20 season draws closer to the pointy end, we’ve again seen some standout performances throughout.
“We’ve seen athletes go over and above to again prove they are serious contenders in their respective events.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has taken part in the season to date – a total of 8476 participants this year, which is just amazing.
“There’s still lots to look forward to as well, with the state championships in March sure to test the mettle of some of our best performing junior and youth/senior lifesaving athletes ahead of the Australian Lifesaving Championships (Aussies),” she said.
Ms Clark said the season certainly had its fair share of success stories, despite a few setbacks.
“We did have some bad weather that led to some tough conditions for competitors, as well as the cancellation of a couple of events, including events during juniors, youth/senior and boat carnival competition.
“The Masters Lifesaving Championships held in Lorne in early February saw about 400 competitors from around the state doing their best to battle and conquer the elements.
“In some instances, large swells saw teams trying multiple times to get out the back of the breaking waves to finish races.
“Host club Lorne SLSC said afterwards they only saw conditions like that a few times a year, so it was tough going for even the most experienced competitors.
“One of the day’s highlights was seeing Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club’s Naantali Marshall win all water events in the female 40-44 age division, including surf, tube, board, ski and iron events.”
Other highlights of the season include high performance results from the Royal Life Saving Australia Pool Lifesaving Championships as well as strong development opportunities for the Surf Life Saving Youth Pathway Cup and Interstate teams.
Ms Clark also reflected on what had been a season of firsts for carnival organisers and competitors.
“This season LSV introduced a new double-header surf sports carnival format, which has seen junior and youth/senior carnivals grouped together on the one weekend in the one location,” she said.
“It has reduced the burden on host clubs and event logistics significantly, allowing us to meet and exceed the expectations of clubs, competitors and stakeholders.
“Importantly, it’s now easier for club members, family and supporters to enjoy the surf sports action of the junior and youth/senior carnivals with less travel and fewer weekends spent split between the two.
“The feedback from clubs about holding both events on one weekend has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ll look to take this format into future seasons.”
Ms Clark said the sports carnival season was always about more than just competition.
“Carnivals provide opportunities for young people to meet likeminded people from around the states – it’s a great way to build friendships and community as well as completing ‘active training’ to be rescue ready throughout the summer season.
“We’d also like to say a special thank you to the event volunteer officials, water safety, club personnel and LSV staff who made this season possible.”