State Titles Coaches Report

After months of training, our juniors arrived at Lorne, proudly pulling on the red and white, ready to show why we earned the title of “Club of the Year” and were awarded the LSV Best Achievement award for growth of our Nipper Competition Team.

Being a holiday club, we run a short, intensive training program, as distinct from the clubs like Mentone, Mornington and Mordialloc, which draw from a population that lives locally and can train at the club from October through until March. Not to be outdone, many of our Nippers are involved all year round in programs that keep them fit, healthy, and ready to blast off for the summer Nippers’ program. Be it swimming, basketball, netball, athletics, footy, dance or another activity, those who kept up their fitness in the off-season arrived at the beach ready for the short season of high intensity aquatic sports racing. State Champs at Lorne was the finale of another highly successful season and brought with it all the highs and lows you’d expect on a major competition day.

Starting with the under 9 boys – just two of them, but they thoroughly enjoyed their first states and loved being part of the club atmosphere, encouraging and supporting each other the whole weekend. Harley Lancaster earned club points with a 5th in the 500m Long Run and 6th in the Wade, then teamed up with Charlie Lewin for the highlight of being welcomed into the under 10 boys group for their team Wade Relay.

The under 9 girls had a ball, lots of fun with each other and developed a special bond that hopefully keeps them interested in competition for the years to come. Arabella Foote finished top 10 in the Surf Swim final and Freya Regan proudly boasted to her big brother that she was just as good as him, making the Beach Flags final. Joining Harriet Slee and Ruby Lancaster, together the girls made the Wade Relay final – much to the delight of the parents who cheered loudly as the youngsters of our team ran and dolphined as hard as they could.

The under 10 boys’ highlights included both teams making the Wade Relay final and the Red team placing 4th, with Danny Evans putting in a super effort, excelling above expectations. Hamish Evans’s gold medal in the Surf Swim, was a credit to the encouraging and supportive age group parents – in particular Jackie Haintz who admitted his mum would kill her if Hamish didn’t race. When asked about the race, Hamish told me that half way home he ‘just decided that he was going to win’ – don’t we just love that attitude of a true champion!! Hamish also said that the best part of winning was the loud cheer from his team mates as he received his medal on the dais. Four boys qualified for the flags (Tom Barnett, Hamish Evans, Hugh Murchie and Charlie Colston) with three progressing to the semi-finals, and finally, the boys would like to thank Charlie and Harley who joined them from under 9 to help make up teams.

The under 10 girls had a solid weekend and admitted that they learnt a lot from the competition. Whilst their best medal chances were in the deep water team events, which sadly needed to be cancelled, the girls still earnt a number of points for the club with a 4th place in the Wade Relay (by a whisker) and individually by Abbey Hogg, who came 7th in the Beach Sprint, 6th in the Wade and 5th in the Surf Race.

Marni has done an outstanding job all season with developing and training the under 11 girls. They performed amazingly well, and the rewards of solid training over a number of seasons paid off for the dedicated members in the age group. Sophie Jacka won gold in the Surf Race and silver in the Iron, whilst team mate Bella Murchie won bronze in the Surf Race and showed she’s also quick on the sand by placing 5th in the beach flags. Finally, five of the girls were able to share in the excitement of a ‘top of the podium’ finish winning a team event gold in the Wade Relay, with Maggie Betts, Stella Smith and Annabelle Mahon joining the celebrations with Sophie and Bella.

In under 12, both the boys and the girls added to the medal haul and points tally. These boys and girls are great mates and support each other with true team spirit. Hamish Wilson-Moran won silver in the Surf Swim and placed 5th in the Iron. Over in the girls’ arena, Cleo Richardson showed her versatility on both the sand and in the water with her gold in the 1km Long Run, silver in the Beach Sprint, 5th in the Beach Flags, 5th in the Iron and 5th in the Board Race. Joining her team mates, Anabelle Croft, Neve O’Callaghan and Katie Kerr, the girls won yet another team event medal with a bronze in the Beach Relay, then hit the water for a 5th in the Board Relay.

The under 13 girls, led by age manager Mike Haintz, were the largest in number of all our Portsea age groups. Ten in total, they were there to impress, with some outstanding individual performances. First up an amazing seven of the girls made the Surf Race swim final, with Annabelle Bamford winning the silver, Mackie Hunter 4th and Hannah Saadie 8th. Annabelle doubled up for another silver in the Iron, Gabby Simmons placed 4th in the Beach Flags, Gemma Woolrich made the Iron final and Millie Hogg placed top 10 in the Flags and 1km Long Run. The girls had a red hot go at every event they went in and always managed to get the balance just right between competitiveness and fun. In their last year of Nippers they’ve loved the friendships they have formed and the many lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

Led by our team captains, Charlie Dowling and Miles Regan, the under 13 boys were there to do their best for the team. Miles was bestowed the honour of carrying the pennant in the March Past, then showed his top speed on the sand with a 7th place finish in the Beach Flags. The camaraderie of our oldest Nippers saw two newcomers to the team, with Charlie White and Will McNamara signing up for the first time, and Flynn Deacon returning for another year.

When the water events were cancelled on day 2, due to safety concerns with the easterly swell and wind, we lost the opportunity to throw down our trump cards in some of the team events where we had hoped to excel. Despite the obvious disappointment the Portsea Juniors have again shown their strength, both on the competition arena and out of it. The antics in the team tent, the cheering for their fellow competitors, the determination to do their own best effort and the general good feel amongst all the competitors and across all age cross meant we all went home with fond memories of another competition season.

Well done to all on your efforts and thank you for allowing me to be part of our amazing team for yet another year.

Natalie Hood

Portsea Junior Competition Team Coaching Co-ordinator