Reigning Nutri-Grain Series champion Jordan Mercer will spearhead the Australian Life Saving Team’s bid to regain supremacy at the 2016 Lifesaving World Championships in The Netherlands.
After featuring at youth level, Mercer will represent the Open national team at a World Championships for the first time in the city of Eindhoven and Noordwijk from September 1 – 18.
12 athletes from Surf Life Saving Australia and Royal Life Saving Society Australia have won Open selection for the biennial world championships. It follows the naming of the national Youth team yesterday.
“I feel so honoured to be selected in the Australian Life Saving Team. It’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve but I never really thought it would happen so soon,” Mercer said.
“I can’t wait to get over there and compete. I feel like we all take our performance to the next level when we are competing for our country so I’m excited about what this group can achieve. It’s going to be amazing just to put on that Australian team blazer and be part of the event.”
The team will contest 41 events at the championships over both ocean and pool events. New Zealand is the defending world champion having won the overall title in 2012 and 2014.
The selection process follows the Australian team’s defence of the International Surf Rescue Challenge title at Maroochydore in September and a successful campaign European campaign in November to contest the International Dutch Cup and International German Cup.
Of the 12 athletes chosen, five were members of the all-conquering youth team which dominated the Lifesaving World Championships in France two years ago.
“I think we have a team which can win the title back. We wouldn’t be going if we didn’t think we could win and we are looking forward to the beach conditions with long wades and lots of running. Hopefully the wind will get up too,” Australian Life Saving Team head coach Danny Short said.
In an extremely talented women’s line-up, Mercer will be joined by fellow Nutri-Grain Series competitor Georgia Miller, who recently won the open surf race at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. Miller is joined by Australian swimming representative Chelsea Gillett and under-19 surf race champion Prue Davies as graduates of the 2014 youth team. Former world record holder Pam Hendry returns to the Open squad, as does Melissa Cracroft- Wilson, who won an unprecedented tenth Australian beach flags title last month.
Australian Ironman Championship runner-up Dane Farrell has won his first national call-up, while Sam Bell returns to the team after missing selection in 2014. Australian swimming representative Bradley Woodward and proven all-rounder Matt Davis will take on the bulk of responsibility in the pool events. Tim Schofield is back following some inspirational performances in France two years ago, while Australian men’s beach flags runner-up Jake Lynch will take on the sprinting duties.
The team will assemble in Sydney later this month as a key part of the build-up to the Lifesaving World Championships.
“Over the past few years we have built a strong culture around accountability, respect and resilience. We will continue to do that at camp and throughout this campaign,” Short said.
The Australian Life Saving Team (Open) is:
Women: Jordan Mercer (Noosa SLSC), Georgia Miller (Newport SLSC), Melissa Cracroft-Wilson (Kurrawa SLSC), Prue Davies (Currumbin SLSC/ Queensland RLSSA), Pam Hendry (Maroochydore SLSC/ Queensland RLSSA), Chelsea Gillett (Maroochydore SLSC/ Queensland RLSSA)
Men: Dane Farrell (Newport SLSC), Sam Bell (Maroochydore SLSC/ Queensland RLSSA), Tim Schofield (Terrigal SLSC/ Hills LSC), Matt Davis (Currumbin SLSC), Bradley Woodward (Catherine Hill Bay SLSC/ The Hills LSC), Jake Lynch (Newport SLSC)
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).