STRONG BRANCH LINE-UP
By BONNIE HANCOCK
A STRONG contingent of surf lifesavers, particularly from the Sawtell and Coffs Harbour clubs, will represent the North Coast Branch at this year's Interbranch Championships at Fingal Beach on December 10-11.
Over two days of tough racing, competitors will contest the usual sprint, flag, swim, board and ironperson events as well as teaming up for beach and cameron relays, board and tube rescues as well as a pre-competition march past.
The 39-strong team was selected from two Branch carnivals, held at the Jetty and Sawtell beaches recently.
The Interbranch carnival will draw competitors from the Far North Coast to as far south as the Victorian border and the polpularity of the sport can be seen with the event each year bringing together hundreds of NSW's best young surf lifesavers.
Many new faces will be seen on the North Coast team this year, with the under-14 age group stepping up to a big challenge under the new rule that they must compete on the longer, bigger and harder malibus.
Nine youngsters from the Sawtell club squad, trained under coach Terry de Carle, have been selected to compete at the carnival, which is a wonderful achievement for both the athletes and de Carle.
"This is the most number of kids from the squad we've had make the team ever," de Carle said. "We've been getting stuck into the training and the kids are really putting the work in. I'm happy with the way things are going; it's coming together well.
"This is definitely one of the major carnivals of the season, and with it being the main selection trial for the NSW state team, the best of the best will be there.
"After this, the main focus for the squad will be maintaining fitness over the holiday break and to be ready leading into the State and Australian titles."
Local representatives on the North Coast team are:
Under 12 - Water: Brandon Lee (Sawtell), Adam Percival (Coffs Harbour), Leila Walker (Saw), Chandla Stack (CH), Beach: Oscar Smith (Nambucca), Alissa Loxton (Saw).
Under 13 - Water: Thomas Penney (Woolgoolga), Levi Sands (Wool), India Hancock (Saw), Lillian Dellar (Saw); Beach: Reece Muller (CH), Taylah Raymond (North Beach).
Under 14 - Water: Morgan Hely (Saw), Daley Bear (CH), Alex Barnes (CH) Indhia Duncan (Saw); Beach: Greg Peel (Saw), Nina Loxton (Saw).
Under 15 - Water: Joel Beavis (CH), Sam Percival (CH), Kayla Russell (Saw), Brodie Murray (Saw); Beach: Robbie Hawkes (Nam) Alex Smith (Nam).
Under 17 - Water: Aaron Beavis (CH), Callan Thompson (Saw), Bonnie Hancock (Saw), Rose Phillips (CH); Beach: Rory Walton (CH), Zoe Bale (Saw).
Under 19 - Water: Callan Batt (CH), Matt Chase (CH) Courtney Hancock (Saw) Sarah Tisdell (Saw); Beach: Callan Batt (CH) Sarah Walker (Saw).
Open - Water: Grant Rigden (CH), Anthony Neal (Wool); Beach: James Lander (Urunga).