Aussies click into golden gear as world title hopes hot up
Australia has had a golden start to its ocean and beach assault, pulling out all stops in their efforts to win back the coveted National Teams crown at the World Life Saving Championships in Adelaide today.
The heavyweight Trans Tasman battle will be decided on Glenelg Beach on Sunday afternoon with the Aussies unofficially 22 points ahead while in the battle for the Youth title the Australians are unofficially 13 points ahead of the young Black Fins after the first of two days in the pool.
In a dominant display, the 12-strong Aussies Open Team came home with six gold, two silver and three bronze medals in a confidence building day against defending and three-time world champions, New Zealand.
Both the men’s and women’s teams shared the spoils with the women’s team grabbing individual gold to Ironwoman star and Coolangatta Gold winner Georgia Miller in the open women’s surf race before she played her part in both the victorious beach relay and Rescue Tube Rescue teams.
Four-time silver medallist in the pool, Currumbin’s Prue Davies put in the swim of her life in the rescue tube to set up the Rescue Tube Rescue win with brilliant patient swimmer Mariah Jones and rescuers Miller and anther pool rescue star Chelsea Gillett.
And in the last event on a wet and miserable Glenelg afternoon, Jones, Miller and Gillett turned from ocean to sand to combine with Australian beach sprint champion and Stawell Gift winner Elizabeth Forsyth to take out a key win in the beach relay ahead of Egypt with New Zealand third.
Miller was also third in the women’s board after training partners New Zealander Danielle McKenzie and Australian team captain Harriet Brown went stroke for stroke for the entire race, before McKenzie stole a march on the Australian champion in the run up the beach.
Five-time Australian beach sprint champion Jackson Symonds from WA showed another clean pair of heals to easily take out the men’s open beach sprint before he too joined his “salty” team mates Nutri-Grain IronMan champion Matt Bevilacqua, WA’s Jake Smith and pool rescue gold and silver medallist Matt Davis to snatch bronze in the beach relay with New Zealand seventh.
The Australian boys too gathered all-important points in the water with Smith (patient), Sam Bell (rescue swimmer) and Bevilacqua and Australian Ironman champion Kendrick Louis snatching a narrow win over the Black Fins in the Rescue Tube Rescue.
Like Davies in the women’s team it was National team stalwart Bell, who produced a powerhouse swim to the buoys and another coming back to the beach to set up the victory and no one on the Australian team would be more deserved of a win in this Championship race than him.
Soon after Bevilacqua and Louis showed all their class and fitness to edge in front of the Kiwis to win the board rescue with Great Britain winning a photo finish with the USA for third.
Australia’s Youth Team also had a superb day with swim star Lani Pallister leading the way adding gold medals in the 200m Obstacles and 100m Medley Rescue in a world youth record of 1:11.24 and joining with Keeley Booth, Anthea Warne and Naomi Scott to win the 4x50m Obstacle Relay.
Warne was second to Pallister in the 100m Medley Rescue while Brendon Smith won silver in the 200m Obstacles and was part of the bronze medal winning 4x50m Obstacle Relay with Bailey Proud, Sam Loughnan and Mitch Coombes that won bronze.
Loughnan also added bronze in the 100m medley rescue.