Rising teenage stars Jemma Smith and Callum Lowe -Griffiths will captain the Australian Life Saving Youth Team into the 2016 Lifesaving World Championships in The Netherlands.
They are among a host of gold medallists from the recently completed Australian Surf Life Saving Championships that will spearhead the team’s youth campaign.
National selectors have chosen a team of 12 youth athletes who will be looking to emulate Australia’s dominant performance two years ago when it became the first ever group to win the overall points standing and top the table in both the ocean and pool disciplines.
The 2016 Lifesaving World Championships will be held in the city of Eindhoven and Noordwijk from September 1 – 18. Australia will be represented by a Youth and Open team, comprising of athletes from both Surf Life Saving Australia and Royal Life Saving Society Australia.
“This is an incredibly talented and gifted group of athletes. This has made it even tougher to come up with just 12 names who will have the honour of wearing the Australian team cap,” Australian youth team coach Brett Dowker said.
“This team has that essential balance of skill and experience that you need at an event like the world championships and I am really confident it can be a huge success. There are no guarantees in lifesaving events but we talk about executing perfect races and if we do that, the results really should take care of themselves for this team.”
“Jemma and Callum are outstanding young leaders and will do a great job as team captains. We did some leadership identification and development work and they shone through.”
The team has been chosen from a High Performance Youth squad of 49 that was assembled in the wake of the Australian Life Saving Team’s 2014 world championships campaign.
Recent performances at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Sunshine Coast were a key component of the final selection process. This was combined with results at national Pool Lifesaving Championships over the past 12 months.
Promising Umina SLSC and Hills LSC duo Smith, who won the Female Athlete of the Aussies 2016 Championships and clubmate Rachel Wood feature in a star-studded team. Kurrawa’s Nicole Kay and Rachel Eddy have won selection on the back of impressive performances at the Sunshine Coast. Kay won the Open Beach Sprint title at Mooloolaba. Reigning national youth athlete of the year and Nutri-Grain Series competitor Lizzie Welborn (North Bondi SLSC) and Victorian pool swimming sensation and Royal Life Saving Female Lifesaver of the Year Samantha Howe (Pt. Leo SLSC) round out the female contingent.
The men’s youth team is composed of athletes from five clubs along the Australian east coast. Newport SLSC will supply two athletes with strong surf backgrounds Charlie Brooks and Issac Smith chosen. Swimming ace Toby Wilson (Northcliffe SLSC) sealed his seat on the plane on the back of his performances at last weekend’s pool rescue trials at Southport. He also won the Open Aussie Ocean Swim at Mooloolaba last month. Towering teen Ethan Garland (North Cronulla / Port Hacking Lifeguard Club) will carry many of Australia’s hopes in the pool rescue events. Queenscliff SLSC and Hills LSC Lowe-Griffiths won gold in the under-17 Ironman while Cody Rychvalsky (Maroochydore SLSC) heads to The Netherlands on the back of podium finishes in both the Beach Flags and Sprint events at The Aussies.
“This is a group of young men and women who are chasing their dreams on a pathway to representing their country at Open level,” Dowker said.
“And the fact is, some of the athletes in this group could very easily have found themselves in the Open team on the back of their performances this season.”
The Youth Australian Life Saving Team will assemble for a squad camp on the Gold Coast on June 3 in a key lead-up to the Lifesaving World Championships.
The Open Australian Life Saving Team will be announced tomorrow.
The Australian Life Saving Team (Youth) is:
Women: Jemma Smith (Umina SLSC/ Hills LSC), Rachel Wood (Umina SLSC / Hills LSC), Nicole Kay (Kurrawa SLSC), Rachel Eddy (Kurrawa SLSC), Lizzie Welborn (North Bondi SLSC), Samantha Howe (Pt. Leo SLSC).
Men: Charlie Brooks (Newport SLSC), Issac Smith (Newport SLSC), Toby Wilson (Northcliffe SLSC), Ethan Garland (North Cronulla SLSC / Port Hacking Lifeguard Club), Callum Lowe-Griffiths (Queenscliff SLSC / Hills LSC), Cody Rychvalsky (Maroochydore SLSC).