Mastering the beach
GOLD and silver hang proudly in the Belle-wood and Maffescioni households following the WA Surf Lifesaving Championships that wrapped up on the weekend. Sonja Belle-wood returned to competition in the Masters category, winning a gold medal in the women’s 35-and-over beach relay. The 42-year-old took a break from competition in 2007 when she gave birth to daughter Eliza Wood, who made her debut in the Juniors, finishing fourth in the beach sprint and beach flag events. The family’s former nanny Tegan Maffescioni added gold and silver to the mix defending her beach sprint title in the Open category, winning the women’s sprint for the second year and taking silver in the beach flags event. They are members at North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club.
THERE must be something in the water – or the sand – at North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club.
The club’s beach competitors have celebrated a stellar few weeks of state championships action on the sand, bringing home multiple medals in the beach sprint, beach relay and flags events.
Tegan Maffescioni defended her beach sprint title last weekend at the Open championships, taking the gold in the women’s sprint.
The 28-year-old teacher backed up her win with a silver medal in the beach flags event the next day.
“All I wanted as a nipper was to win one open sprint title,” she said.
“To go back to back, I'm over the moon.”
Maffescioni has been at North Cottesloe for more than 20 years and has won relay medals at national and world levels.
Former coach and teammate Sonja Belle-wood also had a successful state championships campaign, returning to the beach for the first time in the Masters category.
The 42-year-old combined with former teammates to win a gold medal in the women’s 35-and-over beach relay last month.
“Teegs was the baby of the squad when I ran in the open division,” Bellewood said.
“I mentored her as an under-17 and under-19 athlete and then into the Open division where we combined in 2006 to win silver in the beach relay at the World Championships, and then in 2009 to win bronze at the Australian Championships in the beach relay.”
In 2007, Belle-wood took a break for the birth of daughter Eliza Wood, who made her debut at the junior state championships on the weekend.
Eliza (9) finished fourth in the beach sprint and beach flag events, narrowly missing out on medals in both events.
“This is Eliza’s first year of surflifesaving, and coincidentally, her first year of being able to compete,” Bellewood said.
“Teegs became my nanny after I had Eliza, and is now coaching her, alongside other junior athletes in the beach arena.
“It is like three generations of surflifesaving.”
Belle-wood said that while her priorities may have changed a little, she was aiming to compete at the Australian Championships next year, when it returns to Scarborough Beach for the first time since 2009.
“Now the main objective is to have fun, stay injury-free, find a babysitter and help pass our skills to the younger athletes in our sport,” she said.
Tegan Maffescioni (left), with Eliza Wood (9) and Sonja Belle-wood.