By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club earned more than 60 medals at the 2021 Life Saving Victoria Youth/Senior Victorian Lifesaving State Championships at Lorne.
Ocean Grove sent more than 50 competitors to the event ranging in ages from under-14 to open.
Many competitors doubled up in the teams events to support the club in challenging conditions.
Head coach Sonia Kinsey said her team had every right to be proud of their performance.
“By far the best group of young athletes I have dealt with in a long time with every competitor being supportive of the other,” she said.
“It has a really good feel and I hope that we can continue with this vibe for many years to come.
“The conditions were very challenging, however it was pleasing to see that they were rewarded for their hard work as we all know that this is when corona stopped everything last year, right here at Lorne.
“I think that they made the most of every race that they could and it showed on the weekend in results and their attitude in the water.”
Jesse Coulson won the Open Ironman event and Iestyn Knapp came third, despite being an under-19 competitor.
Sienna Stewart was the under-14 Female Champion Athlete (Beach).
Knapp also won the Maurie Rayner Scholarship for the best under-19 competitor for the season and under-14 ironman Hudson Pearce won the best under-14 water award.
“It was a good weekend –it was hard, but we got it done,” Knapp said.
“I’ve been training for two years for this state champs, so I wasn’t going to let pain get in the way. They were awesome conditions – big surf and choppy.”
The overall point score won’t be known for a few weeks.
“Although we did well and should be up there in the final score, we will have to wait and see,” Kinsey said.
The focus now shifts to the Australian titles in Maroochydore from April 16.
“We only have a small team going this year as many of the kids are bottom age or have school commitments, but what we have got going will do their best and make the most of their opportunities,” Kinsey said.