A powerhouse paddle from pint-sized Nikita Fredonnet carried Trigg Island to a board relay double on the second day of the Youth Championships at the Australian Surf Lifesaving titles at Scarborough in Perth.
Fredonnet and her under-15 team-mates Sascha Innocent and Grace Aberhart went into the race full of excitement after watching the club’s boys team take the Aussies gold medal just minutes earlier.
First paddler Innocent and Aberhart set up the race well but the West Australian team was ten metres behind Manly at the final change.
However, Fredonnet was not deterred and set about chasing down the lead in determined fashion.
Taking a better line to the turning buoys, the 14-year-old was in front by the halfway point and extended the advantage to send the club’s supporters into ecstasy.
“I knew the Manly girl from paddling against her a couple of months ago so I really wanted to stick in her wash but then I saw the can was the other way to where she was going so I decided to paddle my own race,” she said.
“I wanted to gun it out to that can and be the first one to turn around.”
Fredonnet was second in yesterday’s under-15 board race and started today with a bronze medal in the 2km beach run but was happy to return to her pet event when the finals came around.
“The board is my favourite event, I love training on it,” she said.
“We had hopes going into this race, maybe not to take out the gold, but having the boys win just before, I definitely think we had the motivation and wanted to do the same thing as them.”
The Trigg boys were led out by Max Hunter and Matt Toms and then brought home by under-15 Ironman champion Will Savage, who paddled tirelessly to the beach to pull ahead of Maroochydore and fast-finishing Swansea Belmont to win gold.
North Bondi finished the Youth Championships in golden fashion, winning the girls’ Cameron relay, while Northcliffe took out the boys’ Cameron relay.
In the surf teams finals, Maroochydore won the boys’ race, while Sunshine Beach took out the girls’ gold medal in a close result that saw Maroochydore second and Manly third.
The beach flags finals were highlighted by the efforts of Noosa Heads’ Kai Thompson, whose under-15 gold medal matched his win in the beach sprints, while North Cronulla’s Lucy Flanagan pulled off the same double in the under-14 age group.
Meanwhile, national 10km open water champion Nick Sloman proved just as handy over a shorter distance when he took out the men’s 2km Ocean Swim at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Perth’s Scarborough beach today.
The Noosa Heads swimmer powered away from a classy field to finish in 20 minutes and 11.31 seconds to win by 15 seconds from fellow Australian open water swimmers, emerging star Bailey Armstrong and former champion, local Rhys Mainstone.
Sloman’s Noosa club mate and World Championship open water swimmer Kareena Lee was a comfortable winner of the open women’s race, crossing the line in 20:34.88, nearly two minutes ahead of second placed City of Perth’s two-time Malaysian open water olympian Heidi Gan.
Fastest time of the day went to men’s under-17 winner Hayden Cotter, who crossed the finish in 20:11.22.
Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships at Scarborough, WA
Open: 2km ocean swim: N Sloman B Armstrong R Mainstone.
U19: 2km ocean swim: T Wilson N Rollo R Clout.
U17: 2km ocean swim: H Cotter H Came L Kaye.
30-39yrs: 2km ocean swim: S Nothling T Martin G Evans.
40-49yrs: 2km ocean swim: T Read M Hamilton J Hooper.
50-59yrs: 2km ocean swim: P Lemmon J de Mestre G Jones
60-69yrs: 2km ocean swim: S Fry R Chapman G Simpson.
70+yrs: 2km ocean swim: M Cook C Baldock J Guilfoyle.
U15: Beach sprint: K Thompson (Noosa Heads) H Van Til (Jan Juc) A Wilson (Coogee). Beach relay: Sorrento Albany Elouera. Beach flags: K Thompson (Noosa Heads) A Wilson (Coogee) J Bridges (Helensburgh-Stanwell Park). 2km run: K Hammond (Wanda) C Quirk (Quinns Mindarie) B Johnson (Scarboro). Board relay: Trigg Island Swansea Belmont Northcliffe. Board rescue: Swansea Belmont Northcliffe Maroubra. Cameron relay: Northcliffe A Swansea Belmont A Currumbin A. Surf teams: Maroochydore Northcliffe Wanda.
U14: Beach sprint: E Smethills (Alexandra Headland) M Geronimo (Elouera) S Crawford (Cudgen Headland). Beach flags: S Popovic (Cronulla) C Leggett (Cottesloe) S Crawford (Cudgen Headland). 2km run: E Duffy (Cottesloe) J Crowley (Sorrento, WA) J McKinnon (Brighton, SA).
Open: 2km ocean swim: K Lee H Gan A Smiroldo.
U19: 2km ocean swim: J Slee O Corrin I Rees.
U17: 2km ocean swim: M Louw E Holyman K Fittock.
30-39yrs: 2km ocean swim: E Starr F Nay F Tschaut.
40-49yrs: 2km ocean swim: D Miller E Smith S Colliss.
50-59yrs: 2km ocean swim: J Sutcliffe L Thurtell C Krenkels.
60-69yrs: 2km ocean swim: D Wareing M Paton A Nitschke.
70+yrs: 2km ocean swim: E Crilly L Meaney L Hill.
U15: Beach sprint: E Beer (Currumbin) S Nandapi (Binningup) C Garifalakis (Mentone). Beach relay: Currumbin Coogee Cronulla. Beach flags: H Abbey (Coogee) J Davidson-Bunch (Cronulla) M Spencer (Hampton). 2km run: L Nugent (Arcadian) T Woodger (North Cronulla) N Fredonnet (Trigg Island). R&R: South Melbourne Coogee North Cronulla. Board relay: Trigg Island Newport North Bondi. Board rescue: North Bondi Arcadian Trigg Island. Cameron relay: North Bondi A Maroochydore A Alexandra Headland A. Surf teams: Sunshine Beach Maroochydore Manly.
U14: beach sprint: L Flanagan (North Cronulla) K Rychvalsky (Maroochydore) R Thomasyu (Coogee). Beach flags: L Flanagan (North Cronulla) S Randazzo (Elouera) B Smith (Elouera). 2km run: O Onley (Cudgen Headland) S Ferenczi (Bronte) A Prinsloo (Fremantle).