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Pool Rescue Championships chance for athletes to show off

Swimmers aged from 10 to 75 will be testing their skills and fitness when they compete in a three-day national pool rescue event this month. For some the chance of representing their country is also at stake.

The Surf Life Saving New Zealand Pool Rescue Championships is in its 17th year and in 2019 is being held at the Sir Owen Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland from October 11 to 13.

The championships are an important development event for current and aspiring Surf Life Guards as they work on their skills for the season ahead.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Sport Development Officer Mike Lord says the event is a key competition on the calendar for the nearly 500 club members attending.

Mike says there’s a lot of skill involved in competing in the various races, especially the manikin, tube and obstacle events.

“For some of the athletes, it’s an important chance to show what they’ve got ahead of selection of teams for international competitions in November 2019 and the Life Saving World Championships in Italy next year.”

As the peak pool event of the season a lot of national and some world records are normally broken at the Pool Rescue Championships across all age groups.

Last year 29 national records were broken and the Orewa Surf Life Saving Club was the winning club. They took the top spot with a total of 265 points and broke nine of those records in the process.

Black Fins Pool Coach Dan Grant says the Pool Rescue Championships are about competitors “practicing the skills they use as life guards”.

It’s also about recruitment, retention and Surf Life Guards ensuring they are fit for summer.

Unlike beach events, competitors do not require their Surf Life Guard Award to participate.

A number of athletes who have competed in the recent International Surf Rescue Challenge in South Africa will be at the event.

Among those is Lochlainn O'Connor from the Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service. Dan says he’s one to watch because he is “very close” to breaking the U19 Rescue Medley world record.

Other competitors to keep an eye out for are:
• Steven Kent from Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Club
• Zac Reid from Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club
• Carina Doyle from St Clair Surf Life Saving Club
• Natalie Peat from Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club
• Sandra Borrow from Orewa Surf Life Saving Club (a masters athlete who has broken world records before)

There will be an extra level of competitiveness in the open and U19 age groups as selectors will be on the lookout for members of the team to represent New Zealand at the German Cup, being held in Europe in November this year.

Dan says the national competition is the only event that features masters (30+ years), seniors and juniors at the same competition, which makes it a family affair.

“You’ll often see parents competing in the masters events, and then going on to coach their child’s team or volunteer as an official.”

Stay up to date with the latest news from this event on the Surf Life Saving New Zealand Facebook event page.

© Scoop Media

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