Gorey Guardian - - NEWS - By MARIA PEP­PER

Wex­ford Wa­ter Safety wel­comed nip­per and ju­nior life­savers from all over Ire­land to glo­ri­ous sun­shine on Cur­r­a­cloe Beach for the Na­tional Surf Life­sav­ing Cham­pi­onships.

The young life­savers had to suc­ceed in provincial cham­pi­onships to land a spot in the Na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. All coun­ties were rep­re­sented with strong per­for­mances from Clare, Done­gal, Wick­low and Wex­ford.

The sport of surf life­sav­ing tests dis­ci­plines such as beach sprint­ing and the use of res­cue equip­ment in­clud­ing surf ski, res­cue board and res­cue tube and fins. It has grown in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years and hun­dreds of young life­savers trav­elled to Cur­r­a­cloe for the fi­nals.

Wex­ford were reg­u­larly in the top five se­cur­ing medal fin­ish­esin many events. Ni­cole Colfer came 2nd and Der­val Hayes 3rd in the Girls 8 to 11 year sprints. The boys sprint re­lay team of Dan Flem­ing, Do­ran Daly O’ Toole, Liam Kenny and Thomas Rush achieved bronze.

Stars of the com­pe­ti­tion were the 12-14 year boys who won the ta­plin re­lay and took sil­ver on the sprint re­lay. The team of Ross O Lough­lin, Ross Wal­lace, Adam Cleary, Ro­nan Cleary and John Milne per­formed ex­cel­lently in team events with Ross O’Lough­lin also tak­ing first place in the swim, board and fin swim in the boy’s nip­per com­pe­ti­tion. Ross is cer­tainly one to watch in the fu­ture.

In the Ju­nior Sec­tion fea­tur­ing life­savers over 14 years, there was suc­cess for Aoife Ka­vanagh who took gold in the sprint and bronze in the flags and also for the sprint re­lay team of Anna Ka­vanagh, Ge­orgina Steel, Aoife Milne and Ais­ling Brady.

Wex­ford Wa­ter Safety took great plea­sure in see­ing two of their own, Denise Bol­ger and Bill Milne tak­ing part in an Ir­ish team train­ing camp on Cur­r­a­cloe. Denise and Bill were look­ing for­ward to fly­ing the tri-colour in Bel­gium at the Euro­pean Surf life­sav­ing Cham­pi­onships.

Sports of­fi­cer with Wex­ford Wa­ter Safety Thelma Blen­hein said: ‘The Na­tional Life­sav­ing Cham­pi­onships is the pin­na­cle of the life­sav­ing cal­en­dar and it was a plea­sure to host the event in Wex­ford this year.’

She said she was very proud of the Wex­ford per­for­mances and wished the Ir­ish team ev­ery suc­cess in the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships.

The Wex­ford swim­mers with Thelma Ble­hein, fa­cil­i­ta­tor. The un­der 14 Wex­ford Boys team: Cathal Byrne, Ro­nan Cleary, Ross Wal­lace, Ross O’Lough­lan, John Kenny, Adam Cleary and John Milne. Lola O’Sul­li­van from Gorey and Ann Ryan, Wex­ford, at the event.

Leah McCullen from Gorey.

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