Aussies Wrap – Day 3 Open Championships – 22 April
HOSTS’ MAROOCHYDORE DELIVER GOLDEN PERFORMANCE
Host Club Maroochydore have delivered a crowd pleasing performance capping off the day with a gold medal in the prestigious Open Belt Race courtesy of a sensational swim by Hayden Cotter.
Already qualified through to blue-ribbon Aussies Ironman final, Cotter’s open water skills were on display with flat surf seeing him blitz the field to take home the gold medal ahead of Northcliffe (B) and Alexandra Headland (A).
With very little surf and a stellar field, Cotter said his race tactic was to go hard from the outset.
“It’s pretty flat out there, so you know it’s going to be a fast race from the start, with everyone even altogether. I just got a good start, and just went max from then on.
“I went really hard to half way, knowing that you’ve got a lot of speed in this field. I was hurting when I got close to the can, but I didn’t really want to think about it until you get your hand over the can – you know you can relax then.
“It’s good to get a win, especially on the home beach, it just makes it that much better. I know we’ve got a good history of belt races as well, so it’s good to have a few of them around like Jason O ’Pray and Danny (Short) on the beach as well to watch.
The Mixed Double Ski was a family affair today, with six father/daughter duos teaming up for both Club and family honours. Among those were legendary Ironman Darren Mercer and his Ironwoman daughter Jordie Mercer as well as Maroochydore’s Ashley and Jenaya Massie.
For Jenaya, she was thrilled to be racing in front of friends and family.
“It’s pretty cool to be on my home beach and doing a Mixed Double Ski race with my dad. I had to talk him into it, but I’m stoked that we did it. Dad definitely set up a great stroke rate, and without him I wouldn’t be here obviously.”
Former Ironman star Ashley said: It was great to do it with my daughter, a very proud moment. It was obviously tough being in the Opens, but I’m glad we had the opportunity and especially one our home beach.
“It’s starting to happen more and more, and all the guys doing it we’ve all raced against each other years ago and we’ve all got kids now. So it’s a great opportunity and it’s great fun,” he said.
The Mixed Double Ski final was the return of the ‘Macs’ with Northcliffe’s Mackenzie Hynard and Danielle McKenzie powering home to take the gold medal ahead of Newport’s Jemma Smith and Mitchell Trim and North Bondi’s Brianna Massie and Jackson Collins.
Earlier in the day it was Gold Coast Open Women’s Georgia Miller and Maddy Dunn (Northcliffe) who took home the title ahead of Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park and Maroochydore.
Local Sunshine Coast stars from Alexandra Headland, Tayla Halliday and Emma Woods, teamed up to take gold in the U19 Female Board Rescue ahead of Manly and Swansea Belmont.
To round out Thursday’s events the U17 Beach Relays at were taken out by Mollymook in the women’s who after competing against each other for years the Mollymook girls combined forces to take out the Aussies title.
“We’ve just got together this year for it, we’ve known each other for years, and we’ve competed against each other and now we are just like ‘we are a team’,” the Mollymook team said.
Their must be something in the Sydney Shire water with four teams from the area taking out Aussies titles in the Beach Relays. Cronulla, Elouera, North Cronulla and Wanda won the U17 Male, U19 Female, Open Female and Open Male titles respectively.
The team from Wanda who took out the Open Male Beach Relay said the taking out the title was a bucket list item and that they had been chasing it for ten years.
“That was absolutely insane, the amount of effort that we’ve put in all and year in year out, we’ve been chasing this for ten years and we’ve finally got this medal and it’s just massive weight off the shoulders,” said the Wanda team.
“The Club means everything to us, they’re like family. Everyone’s come down here and supported us, we’ve probably got like a hundred people from our club down here, they even came down from the water area, to have them hear just pushed us that extra metre that we needed.”
In the Mixed Beach Relays Cronulla took out the U17 title, while Elouera took out the U19 and Northcliffe claimed the Open Mixed Beach Relay as their own.
“We all train very hard together and our beach isn’t that big, so we’ve just got to make the most of it,” said the Cronulla team.
“It’s all down to our coach Mark Redrup writing our programs and analysing as individuals and as a team and telling us what we need to work on, all of that stuff matters and that helps for these big days.”
The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships continue on the Sunshine Coast from Friday to Saturday 23-24 April 2021 with the open finals to be shown live on Channel 9 GO! on Saturday 24 April 12-2pm AEST.