By Rebecca Devine
The North Australian Championships are being held this weekend and the Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC) will be eager to rip into the competition.
Last year, the Tannum Sands SLSC finished second to Cairns SLSC, which took out its 10th consecutive North Aussies win for the overall highest points.
And this year Tannum Sands wants the top spot.
Hosted at Harbour Beach in Mackay, athletes will compete in the full suite of surf sports events, including beach flags and sprints, board, ski, surf swim and ironman and ironwoman events as well as a pool rescue competition.
Tannum Sands SLSC coaches Mark Bryant and John Andrews are happy with the off-season training commitment by the members, and are confident of bringing back some medals.
“We really kicked off dedicated training about 10 weeks ago and the nippers are keen to race,” Andrews said.
“There are a few who have put themselves out there at the Endurance Championships and Ironman Challenges at the Gold Coast a few weeks ago so I am really keen to see them do well in Mackay.
“For the under-13s to under-17s, there is additional pressure of performing for their chance to be selected to represent in the Queensland Country Team to compete at the State Interbranch Carnival at the end of November.
“This is a pretty big deal to be chosen for this team, as either a water or beach specialist, and the anticipation at the announcements at the end of the carnival is always intense.”
The competition begins on Friday afternoon with the pool rescue competition.
Here, athletes take the skills they use on life saving patrols and transfer them to the pool in a competitive setting with events such as mannequin tow, mannequin carry and obstacle relay.
The action will continue at Harbour Beach on Saturday where athletes will compete in a full day of beach, board and ski events where they will battle it out for a spot in Sunday’s finals.
The North Aussies is the most prestigious lifesaving event on the regional calendar each year, and in terms of competitor numbers it’s the third largest carnival in the state behind Senior and Junior Queensland Championships.