Aussies talent pool now swaps to surf for world title decider
Australia will arrive onto Glenelg Beach on Saturday morning brimming with confidence in their chase to bring home the World Life Saving Teams crown for the first time since 2010.
After two days of tight and torrid pool rescue competition both Australia and defending and three-times champion New Zealand were locked together on 386 points each.
They will share the Pool Rescue Pointscore Trophy – with Australia’s performance their best ever in the pool.
But the final night rolled out a rollercoaster of emotions after the Australian girls 4x50m relay team was relegated from gold to silver after the Australian men’s relay team had been re-instated following a disqualification in the heats.
The men’s 4x50m team came out and won the B final (securing a valuable 8 points) and watched as the Kiwis finished seventh in the A final – giving Australia what looked like a one point advantage and the title – until Spain were disqualified – giving the Black Fins an extra point and the tie.
But the Black Fins hold a nine-point advantage going into Glenelg after their third place finish in the Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC).
Australia finished the pool events with nine medals – one gold and eight silver with the team adding four silver medals tonight to the one gold and four silvers from day one.
Currumbin Beach Viking pair Matt Davis and Prue Davies were the trojans in a team that fought for every point – knowing they had to get to as close to the Kiwis as they could.
Davis added two individual silver medals to last night’s gold – finishing second in the prestigious 200m Super Lifesaver event and the 50m Manikin Carry.
His Vikings team mate Davies, the Australian open women’s surf race champion, stole the show for the women’s team, finishing with silver in the 200m Super Lifesaver final before combining with Mariah Jones, Georgia Miller and Chelsea Gillett in an emotionally charged finish to the 4x50m Manikin Relay.
Davies dug deep over the closing stages as she towed Miller on the back of a rescue tube in an eye-ball to eye-ball slugfest with France with both teams hitting the touch pad together.
In an instant the Australian time showed up with the No 1 alongside its name and no time for France.
As Davies and Miller celebrated the victory the Australian team went up as one in the grandstand.
But their jubilation was quickly drowned out when the French were given a faster time by 0.03 secs – with the Australian girls relegated to silver in what was a Grant Davies (Olympics 1988) moment .
For Davies it was her fourth silver medal of the two-days and now her and Davis will join their team mates in the surf as they team up for what will be two ding dong days of surf competition.
“What an emotional rollercoaster ride that was,” said Australian coach Kurt Wilson.
“From the appeal that was upheld, to the girls going from gold to silver to the Spanish disqualification – it had it all.
“But I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my staff and especially every athlete who lifted tonight and last night.
“That is the best we have ever gone in the pool and to tie with the Kiwis will give Australia a huge confidence boost going into the surf”.
The Australians will now unleash its big guns in the surf – led by captain Harriet Brown and Coolangatta Gold and two-time Australian surf race champion Georgia Miller and Ironmen Matt Bevilacqua and Kendrick Louis.
And on the beach with Elizabeth Forsyth and Jackson Symonds Australia will have a formidable pairing – but will also rely on the multi-talented Davis to fill the second beach sprinters role – which could be a key.
“We can’t wait to hit the water and I’m pumped with the way these guys have performed in the pool,” said Bevilacqua.
This is another Trans Tasman battle royal that will go right down to the wire.