January Carnival and Competition Team Report

Portsea is one of Victoria’s biggest ‘holiday clubs’ and it becomes a hive of summer activity each year for 3-4 weeks.  The competition team is no different and starting with a Boxing Day point to point swim, we moved into ‘intensive training and race mode’.

The team’s highlights of summer at Portsea included:

  • Courtney Hancock returning for our second training weekend, including sessions at both the Backbeach and Quarantine.
  • A team trip to Mornington for the Kozii Iron Event, a series of four races, swim, board and run each time round. Twenty junior and youth competitors attended and enjoyed more race day coaching from Courtney, a number of them coming home with medals.
  • A ‘summer soirée’ fundraiser hosted by Glennis and Jason Winnett, attended by Courtney. A very big thankyou to those who supported the event and donated and bid for raffle prizes.
  • A ferry pilgrimage to Anglesea, once again in the worst of winter conditions. We took a racing team of 30 competitors, water, boat and beach. Stars of the show were Griffin Mitchell and Oscar Hunter who took a clean sweep in the U19 running events bringing home eight pennants between them. The Youth Men’s Portsea/Blackrock team won the U15 Cameron Relay and Domi Hart came second in the U19 swim then teamed up with Steph Hunter and Sophie Courtney for what was possibly our first ever Portsea women’s Taplin team. Mackie Hunter was the lucky competitor of the day, winning her pennant in the most unusual of circumstances after she led the whole U14 Surf Race field around the wrong set of cans, creating a situation where all thirty swimmers in the race should have been disqualified but were re-instated rather than throw away the pennant and the points.
  • Our women’s boat crew debuted at Anglesea and in very testing conditions placing second to Lorne, who are one of the best crews in the country. The Portsea Estate sponsored “June Ross” surfboat has proved to be an exceptional craft and we cannot thank Will Ross and family enough for their generosity.  Well done to Jacqui Hart, Em von Moger, Amanda Rukuwai, Alex Hagan and Stephen Blewett.
  • A five day training intensive hosted by Rhett Collie, a professional coach from Queensland, who ran sessions morning, noon and night for both juniors and seniors. We had some great weather conditions for surf sessions at the Backbeach, and at Quarantine where a number of our U17 competitors were trying surf skis, preparing for their first season racing on these craft.
  • Excellent results at Pier to Pub with Harvey Larke, Xavier Purcell and Luke Tucker placing 4th,5th and 6th in junior men, with the same three then competing at the Torquay Carnival the following Sunday.
  • Portsea Swim Classic saw a large turnout of comp team members helping with event set up, pack up and racing; the team’s best swimming results being Harvey Larke winning the U18 men, followed by Tom Regan in 2nd, and in the U18 women, Mackie Hunter 3rd and Steph Hunter 4th.
  • The Mordialloc Carnival was the Sunday after Swim Classic and was attended by 16 of our youth competitors. The U14 Swim Team of Frankie Dever, Gemma Woolrich, Hannah Saadie and Mackie Hunter was a standout, winning the Youth (U15) Swim Team event.  The three U15 youth boys, Ned Betts, Xavier Purcell and Harvey Larke teamed up with a friend from Anglesea for another winning result in the Youth Men’s Swim Team, then raced the iron, with all three boys placing in the top 6. Over in the U17 women’s area, our girls’ team of Sophie Courtney, Georgie Kerr, Chloe Dowling, Manna Johnson and Steph Hunter won a swag of pennants in the team events, including the U17 Belt Race event and the U19 Rescue Tube Rescue Race.
  • January finished with the Australia Day Long Weekend Interstates Competition which was held on the Sunshine Coast. This year we had two Portsea competitors in the Victorian Team, Tom Regan in the U19 team and Xavier Purcell in the U15 team.  Racing as a 16 year old in the U19 events, Tom had an amazing third placing in his speciality event, the Surf Race.  Xavier and his team mate caught a cracking wave from the cans to place third in the U15 Board Rescue event at the Youth Pathway Cup. The following day Xavier competed again, for Portsea this time, at the Maroochydore Carnival, with over 700 competitors, placing 9th in both the U15 iron and swim events.  These were amazing results and great racing experience for both these young Portsea members.

With the summer holiday month over and members returning home to Melbourne and back to school, most of our water competitors will jump back into pool training.  It has been a fantastic January turnout to all our training and racing events on the peninsula and around the country.

Next up we will continue to organise training sessions through to the Victorian Titles and Aussies, be racing at Lorne, and the Pier to Perignon.  Thankyou to all who have contributed so far.  Keep up the intensity and we will see you back on the beach soon.

Nat Hood