Silver medal, NZ record and a world title
Titahi Bay’s Steve Kent was a crucial member of the New Zealand Black Fins that were crowned Lifesaving World Champions for the third consecutive time in the Netherlands last week.
With five days of competition split across the pool and the beach, the Lifesaving World Championships is the largest international lifesaving sport competition in the world.
All the events are based around rescue capability and are specific to saving people’s lives.
Earlier in the week, the 12-strong Black Fins squad were the overall winner of the pool events, traditionally not their strongest suit.
Kent, the Fins’ vice-captain, won a silver medal and set a New Zealand record in the men’s 100m mannequin carry with a time of 45.98.
He was also a gold medal winner in the men’s tube rescue with teammates Cory Taylor, Andy McMillan and Chris Dawson.
At his fifth world championships, Kent is also the first athlete in the history of the event to make A finals in six individual events and all of the relays.
Black Fins coach Jason Pocock made special mention of the feat.
‘‘He is an absolute unit and one very special athlete,’’ Pocock said.
Kent said for New Zealand to win the pool and beach titles was a testament to the hard work put in by the team.
‘‘It’s something special that myself and the rest of the team will remember forever,’’ he said.
‘‘Winning the pool title officially was a big step up from where we’ve been before, and to back that up with the beach [title] is phenomenal.
‘‘No one has ever done so to achieve both in the same worlds.’’
The Black Fins finished with 881 points, ahead of Australia’s 792 and France’s 599.
The biannual World Lifesaving Championships has more than 3000 competitors taking part from all over the world.
The Black Fins won the world title in Australia in 2012 and in France in 2014.
The Junior Black Fins finished strongly in the pool to take second place overall, behind Australia.
The Black Fins Lifesaving world championship winning team, with Steve Kent, far right in the second row from the top, holding a trophy.