Sawtell?s golden girls
By DAVID MOASE
SAWTELL'S Bonnie Hancock won gold and silver medals and then inspired another gold during a glittering 30-minute period at the 2006 NRMA Insurance Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kurrawa on Saturday.
Hancock, her sister Courtney and Kayla Russell put the tiny club on the national championships map in front of a big crowd at the Gold Coast beach.
The golden half-hour began when Bonnie and Courtney combined to race away with with under-19 board rescue final.
Courtney set the sisters on the path to victory when she put in a blistering swim to reach the buoys first and signal for her sister to come and 'rescue' her.
Paddling furiously, Bonnie raced out to her 'patient', pulled Courtney onto the board and then led the field back to the finish line.
The sisters were already leading when a helpful wave propelled them even further ahead and they crossed the line 50 metres ahead of their rivals.
Immediately, Bonnie had to go to the start of the under-17 board race and almost grabbed her second gold in a matter of minutes.
She was with the leaders right to the finish but was outsprinted in the run to the line and had to settle for silver.
"It was great winning with Courtney, that's my first gold at the Australian championships," she said.
"We love competing together. "That meant I had plenty of adrenaline pumping at the start of the board race but by the end I started to feel the effects of two hard races in a row."
Hancock's efforts inspired clubmate Russell to go one better in the under-15 board race final.
Russell raced off the beach, quickly took control of the race and never looked like losing against a strong field.
In then end, Russell won by about 10 metres and couldn't control her excitement.
"It's wonderful," she said as she hugged and kissed equally excited rivals.
"The Hancock girls and I train together so seeing them win gave me a real boost.
"In the race I imagined Bonnie was ahead of me and I was chasing her all the way to the finish."