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Waikanae aim for gold at North Island IRB championships

SURF LIFESAVING

WAIKANAE will have five crews competing in the BP North Island IRB surf lifesaving championships this weekend. Among them will be driver Connor Mitchell and crewman Oliver Shivnan, aiming to add to their successes last year.

The Surf Life Saving New Zealand event will be staged at Paekakariki Beach on the Kapiti Coast near Wellington tomorrow and Sunday.

Mitchell and Shivnan and their patient, Harry Allan, won all four titles in the under-22 division of the North Island event last year.

They also did exceptionally well at the New Zealand championships.

“Oliver and I and our new patient, Silke McNaught, will be looking to repeat last year's results,” head coach Mitchell said.

The overall team had grown substantially since the 2019 events.

“We have two more teams this season.”

The club's under-23 A team members are Mitchell, Shivnan and McNaught (the age-group has changed from u22).

In the u23 B team, Cole Williams (driver), Sam Blackburne (crew) and George Allan (patient) are back together again. They also did well last season.

The open women's team members are driver Britta Carrol, crew Ana Naden and patient Emily Horne.

Harry Allan will take the tiller this year in the club's u19 men's team, with Travis Mitchell as crewman and Harry's brother George Allan as patient.

The u19 women's team members are driver Holly Hope, crew Aoife Fyall and patient Emily Horne.

“I feel this year we have a very strong contingent for the North Islands — our biggest team yet with 13 competitors across five teams and four divisions,” Mitchell said.

“Our under-23 men's B team of Cole, Sam and George have their first year in that division, but have looked good at training and should make most finals, along with a few podium finishes.

“The open women, Britta and Ana, have been putting in a lot of effort over the summer and winter, joined by patient Emily Horne. They are hungry for medals this year.

“Our under-19 men, Harry and Travis, are looking good for their first year of competition, and have picked up the skills and drive needed to produce some top-quality results.

“The under-19 women, Holly and Aoife, are competing in a new young female division, and skills picked up at training over the past year and a half should give them good results.”

He said that with five teams and a good skill base from all competing, Waikanae should be in the running for a strong overall result.

Last year the club came third overall.

“I am after an improvement and good results for the club this time round.”

Tomorrow before competition starts, Mitchell, Shivnan and patient Harry Allan will compete in a selection trial against four open men's teams for a shot at representing New Zealand.

The championships this weekend will feature 174 individual athletes — 72 of them females — from 14 surf lifesaving clubs throughout the North Island.

Clubs that will be represented are: Waikanae, Bethells Beach, East End, Kariaotahi, Mairangi Bay, New Plymouth Old Boys, Opunake, Paekakariki, Pauanui, Piha, Red Beach, Sunset Beach, Waimarama and Westshore.

BEST EVER: The three crews from Waikanae set a new mark for the surf lifesaving club in inflatable rescue boat racing with third place overall at the North Island championships at Waihi Beach at the weekend. It was the club's best result in an IRB championship. The feature of that success was the gold medal sweep by the club's under-22 crew in all their events. In action from the championships with (from left) 'patient' Harry Allan, crewman Oliver Shivnan and driver Connor Mitchell. Pictures by Geoff Ridder
A winning performance at last year's NI IRB championships.