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Creedy and Bevilacqua reign supreme at State Champs

Leading into this weekend’s Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships, Northcliffe ironwoman Rebecca Creedy declared she was sick and tired of coming second.

So far this summer the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist had finished runner-up behind North Burleigh rival Liz Pluimers in both the Coolangatta Gold and the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronWoman series.

However she turned the tide today, leading home a star-studded field to take out her first Queensland ironwoman title at Maroochydore Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, with Creedy entering the home straight some 20 metres behind Mooloolaba’s Kirsty Higgison before eventually prevailing in a nail-biting sprint finish.

It capped off a strong day for Northcliffe with the club taking out its 11th straight title in the overall point score.

Creedy said it was fantastic to finally pick up an individual win after so many second place finishes this summer.

“I feel like I’ve come second to Liz Pluimers all year, so it feels really good to finally get out there and knock her off for once, and I’m looking forward to making it one step closer to Aussies and hopefully doing it again there,” she said.

“I actually got a bit nailed in the ski race today and hurt my groin, so I was tossing up whether or not to do the ironwoman, but I thought I’d get out there and see how it felt. It was feeling a bit sore in the first transition but I warmed into it and then figured in the swim it was all about getting those waves,” she said.

“I got up next to Kirsty in the home straight and she didn’t seem to be going that fast, but she started picking up the speed and I just thought ‘it’s on’, took off after her and just managed to get her on the line.

“It’s my first state title win, and I’m really happy,” she said.

In the open ironman final, Mooloolaba’s Matt Bevilacqua prevailed in the tricky conditions ahead of club-mate Hayden White and Currumbin’s Jackson Maynard to take out his first Queensland title.

“It’s something I can tick off my list now. Winning an ironman race these days with guys like Shannon (Eckstein) and Ky (Hurst) running around is hard enough in itself, so I’m really stoked with that,” he said.

“To have a Queensland state title on my resume sounds pretty good, and hopefully I can turn it into an Australian title as well.”

Bevilacqua said the win against a quality field featuring multiple state, national and world champions was a big confidence boost leading into the Australian Championships on the Gold Coast in April.

“Being a little bit younger I like to have that confidence, it helps me a little bit more. The Aussies is obviously that next level up and harder still when you add all the New South Wales and interstate guys into the mix. Confidence is great, but it’s a new race entirely,” he said.

Mooloolaba’s Karlee Nurthen won the under-19 ironwoman while Currumbin’s Lincoln Dews prevailed in the under-19 ironman final.

In other results, six-time Australian ironman champion Shannon Eckstein spear-headed Northcliffe to its fourth consecutive victory alongside brother Caine in the open male taplin relay.

“We’ve been pretty successful with the taplin in the past couple of years, and the longer we go on the more clubs really want to knock us off, so the pressure’s there but we just keep trying to piece together a jigsaw to get a good six-man taplin,” Eckstein said after the race.

“There’s no secret to it, we train really hard and we have a really good culture at the club, a winning culture, a successful culture.

“I started off as a board paddler in the taplins and I’m swimming now, which I enjoy too, but there’s a lot of pressure in the last leg of the taplin … you don’t want to let the boys down.

“Obviously Mooloolaba is a very strong club with great ironmen, as is Newport down in Sydney, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us trying to defend our title at Aussies,” he said.

In the overall stakes Northcliffe finished the championships on 477 points, streaking ahead of Mooloolaba (326 points) and Currumbin (307).

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