Queensland’s top surf lifesavers dive into Pool Rescue Champs

More than 400 surf lifesavers from across the state will throw off the winter warmers and dive into the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre this weekend for Surf Life Saving Queensland’s 2015 State Pool Rescue Championships.

The two-day event will see qualified lifesavers from all corners of the state take their patrol and rescue skills from the beach to the still-water, as they battle it out across a range of pool-based events including obstacle swims, line throws, tube swims and manikin rescues.

SLSQ sports development coordinator Ryan Bennett said it was a great opportunity, and challenge, for lifesavers to transfer the skills they regularly use on surf patrols into the pool environment.

“The pool rescue competition is a really important opportunity for all lifesavers to work on their skills and hone their craft throughout the winter months,” he said.

“These types of pool rescue skills are fast becoming essential for all surf lifesavers. The events can be quite technical, and a lot of competitors will no doubt be looking to refine their techniques and improve on their skills heading into the warmer months.”

Defending champion Currumbin is once again looming as the club to beat, and will be spearheaded by Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist Ryan Napoleon, who will line up in ten races across the weekend including the 100m manikin tow, the 50m manikin carry and the 200m super lifesaver event.

Teammate Matt Davis will also be one to watch as he sets out to solidify his growing reputation as a future superstar of the sport, following a watershed 12 months which saw him captain the Australian Under-19 team at last year’s World Championships and win five gold medals in the process.

Mr Bennett said athletes from all corners of the state would line up to compete this weekend, and suggested there could be a few upsets along the way.

“The pool is a great leveller in a lot of ways; it doesn’t matter if you come from the big surf of the Gold Coast or the calmer waters in the north, everyone’s on an equal footing when they dive in and it all comes down to who is the strongest swimmer and who has the most technically-correct lifesaving skills,” he said.

“In the past few years we’ve really see the pool side of competition emerge as a big part of the surf lifesaving program and competitive calendar, and there will be plenty of athletes eager to showcase their skills across the weekend,” Mr Bennett said.

“At last year’s Championships we had roughly 300 competitors and this year that figure’s jumped to well over 400, which is a fantastic result and a sign that lifesavers are hungry for this style of competition,” he said.

The Queensland Pool Rescue Championships will be held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at Southport on the Gold Coast. The action kicks off at 8am on Saturday 25 July and wraps up Sunday afternoon.

Last year Gold Coast’s Currumbin claimed the overall honours, finishing ahead of Northcliffe and Maroochydore, with Sunshine Beach and Alexandra Headlands rounding out the top five.

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