LIFE SAVING athletes from the Geelong region were among the best of the best at The Aussies this year.
Formally known as the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, the annual event is the biggest date on the Australian surf life saving surf sports calendar.
This year, The Aussies attracted more than 6,000 competitors from 315 surf clubs to the Sunshine Coast to compete in 480 beach and ocean events from April 16-24.
Fairhaven SLSC’s 220 Years women’s Surf Boat Team “Hot Catch” won the gold medal.
Karen Costa, Mardi Spittle, Tracey Holding, Samantha Trask and sweep David Thompson took out the hotly contested race in small surf conditions, edging out West Beach SLSC’s “Spritzers”.
“The team is so happy with the result and to win the Australian title,” Ms Costa said.
“We’ve worked so hard as a team in preparation for The Aussies and to have it all pay off and get up on the podium for Fairhaven is fantastic.”
Lorne SLSC’s Open Men’s Short Course surf boats team “Lorne Chops” also won gold.
Geoffrey Matthews, Andrew Downie, Edward White, Jordan Hooper and Jack Ryan won convincingly ahead of Elouero Wilko (NSW), Mermaid Beach Kennards (QLD) and Batemans Bay (NSW) in small but sunny conditions.
Matthews said the triumph was long awaited following lockdowns which came right when the team was reaching its peak.
“Lorne Chops have been together for two years now and we were only just hitting our straps when we won ASRL gold last year – which ended up being only weeks before that season was cut short by a lockdown in Victoria,” Matthews said.
“In some ways winning this medal at Aussies feels like a bit of redemption and justification for all the hard work we’ve put in under exceptional circumstances this year.”
Torquay SLSC’s Tim Altman and Glenn Singleton took out the silver medal in the masters men’s 45-49 years double ski race.
Altman and Singleton also finished fifth in the 130 Years Ski Relay with Torquay teammate Heath Richards. “We’re so stoked to take the silver and be ranked second in Australia in the double ski race at The Aussies,” Altman said.
“It’s been an awesome season back racing after the COVID-19 break and it’s always a pleasure teaming up to race with Glenn and putting on the blue and yellow for our club.
“We old boys love to show the rest of our team how it’s done!”
Ocean Grove SLSC’s Amenah McDonald has had two podium finishes, taking silver in the Masters 45-49 Years Ironwoman and bronze in the Masters Women’s 45-49 Years Single Ski Race.
McDonald backed up her efforts with a fifth in the 45-49 Years Board Race and teamed up with fellow Ocean Grove athlete Bethan Knapp to take fifth place in the 40-44 Years Women’s Board Rescue.
“I came to The Aussies with no expectations and am so proud to have come away with two Australian medals,” McDonald said.
“Another highlight was winning my board semi-final before grabbing a fifth in the final and coming fifth in the board rescue with my teammate Bethan Knapp.
“It’s so great to have a great team of girls, including Bethan and Melissa Fitzgerald to race at The Aussies with. You girls are the bomb.”
For full results, head to sls.com.au/aussies.