Dripps dynasty dominates Champion Lifesaver

Samuel, Freddie and Finn Dripps from Jan Juc SLSC.

A healthy dose of sibling rivalry is nothing out of the ordinary, but for the Dripps brothers of Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club, it’s the driving force behind their impressive Champion Lifesaver results.

Finn (19), Freddie (18) and Samuel (16) Dripps spent their childhood summers doing Nippers at Anglesea SLSC, before moving to Jan Juc SLSC, where their interest in Champion Lifesaver was sparked.

As the name suggests, Champion Lifesaver encompasses all aspects of lifesaving, with physical, theory and practical elements all scored to find an overall winner.

After entering the event on a whim in under 15s, eldest brother Finn took out the gold medal and started a family dynasty.

“I like the versatility of Champion Lifesaver,” said Finn, who now competes in the open men’s division. “It’s great to be able to use the first aid and resuscitation skills I gained in my Bronze in a competitive setting.”

Freddie wasn’t watching on the sidelines for long before he joined his big brother in the event the following year.

“Having an older brother doing the event and watching him compete made me want to get involved as well,” said Freddie, now in under 19s.

“In Champion Lifesaver, you don’t have to be the most physical or the smartest competitor on the day, you have to be a well-rounded competitor and consistent competitor, and you have to be able to do it all with confidence.”

Still a junior when his two older brothers began competing, Samuel, now in under 17s eagerly awaited his time to shine while cheering his brothers on.

“As the youngest brother watching them both do it and waiting to get a go made it extremely exciting when I could finally start in under 15s,” Samuel said.

“The real-life aspect of Champion Lifesaver and how it ties into lifesaving, not just the physical elements, is what makes the event so enjoyable.”

While Finn was the inspiration for his two younger brothers, the gap has been closed, with him and Freddie sharing the podium for the last three Victorian State Championships in a row.

“Freddie has beaten me by less than one point for first and second in the last three state titles events,” Finn said.

“It gets closer and closer every year. Before Freddie came along, I was winning every year and I’m expecting Samuel to be hot competition as well very soon!”

According to Freddie, the podium is often down to the wire.

“Samuel beat me in the swim last year and Finn and I tied in the practical CPR and patient assessment this year,” Freddie said.

“It’s very balanced the whole way through, and it usually comes down to the theory.”

Being brothers as well as teammates gives the boys an edge, collaborating both at Jan Juc with the rest of their team and at home, sharing their secrets to success.

“When you’re all going to training together, you have that opportunity to go through theory during car rides as well as at home, so it really helps us,” Freddie said.

However, according to Samuel, this can also lead to some strategy.

“Sometimes, it’s about knowing which information to keep as your secret weapon!” he said.

As well as encouraging friendly competition between them, the Dripps brothers believe studying and training for competition prepares them for their volunteer patrols at Jan Juc and in Finn and Freddie’s case, their paid lifeguarding work at Geelong and along the Surf Coast.

“It makes the world of difference. As soon as something happens while on patrol or at work, I’m able to switch into autopilot and keep calm and level-headed,” Finn said.

Finn, Freddie and Samuel all stepped up and competed at this year’s Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (The Aussies), in the lifesaving events.

Finn placed 8th in the open mens division, Freddie was 7th in the under 19s and Samuel teamed up with Zoe Jenkins for a 5th in the under 17 mixed first aid.

The brothers were also part of Jan Juc SLSC’s 7th place Champion Patrol team.

The Aussies were held on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast between 16-24 April 2021.

If you are interested in becoming involved in Champion Lifesaver, Champion Patrol or First Aid events, contact sport@lsv.com.au

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