Portsea had a team of 39 strong competitors, ranging in ages from U9 – U13.

This year, a changed program meant the State Championships ran over 3 days.

Courtney Hancock, national ironwoman and first year as Portsea’s Junior Competition Team coach, was on hand for the whole weekend to give encouraging words to kids on the start line and after races. This was greatly appreciated by the kids and was the envy of other clubs.

Saturday commenced with many water events – thankfully LSV made the decision to allow all kids to wear wetsuits which helped in Warrnambool’s cool conditions. Good surf conditions saw our Portsea Nippers use the skills they develop from training at Portsea back beach. Many got through to finals in wade, swim, board, iron, surf teams, aqua cameron, board relay and board rescue which is a fabulous achievement.

Sunday saw most of the beach events: beach sprint, long run, beach relay, flags.

On the Monday, the last day which started early again …. with our team photo. Our older kids then led Portsea out in the March Past – LSV were very impressed that it was the first time in 16 years that Portsea had officially competed in the March Past. It was pleasing to see the younger kids who couldn’t compete in the official March Past, photo-bomb before the competition started then quickly got out of the way and behind fences to cheer Portsea on.

Despite the smaller team size than in previous years (as U14 have moved into Youth competition), this certainly didn’t reflect in our results. Our team results were fabulous: 4 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze.

Our individual results were also outstanding: 5 gold, 3 silver, 7 bronze.

That’s at total of 26 medals for Portsea comprising of 9 gold, 5 silver, 12 bronze.

While we can’t name all medallists and finalists a special mention to our gold medal winners:

U9 Girls: Sarah Jacka (wade); Sarah Hall (beach run); Luci Murchie (flags); Millie Barr, Sophie Hall Sarah Jacka and Luci Murchie (wade relay)

U12 Girls: Sophie Jacka (surf race and iron); Maggie Betts, Mia Hoskins, Annabell Mahon and Bella Murchie (surf teams); Maggie Betts, Mia Hoskins, Sophie Jacka, Annabell Mahon and Bella Murchie (aquacam)

U13 Girls: Annabelle Croft, Katie Kerr, Neve O’Callaghan, Cleo Richardson (beach relay)

In addition to this, our team made it through to  30 finals (14 team and 15 individual finals).

Overall Portsea finished 8th out of 30 clubs which was an amazing result given the size of our team compared to many other clubs.

Needless to say that many kids and parents were exhausted and elated after our outstanding Junior State Championships.

Very pleasing was the common feedback that Portsea competitors were tough, fair and respectful.

A big shout out to all the parents and siblings who were involved as Age Managers, Officials, Water Safety, LSV set up at 6:30am, LSV pack up (last on the beach). Also to Hampton & Venus Bay SLSC for helping with our IRB duties.

It was a great and exhausting weekend. All families made it home in one piece, a lot of sand in the car and with much experience under their belts.

This year will be difficult, and like the surf, we don’t know what exactly we’ll have to deal with. What we do know is that at the end, there will be another summer and a return to the beach.

Keep in touch and take care

Amanda Benson & Matt Colston,

Team Managers – PSLSC Junior Competition Team