Junior lifesavers learn from the best in elite class
FOUR Far North Coast surf lifesavers were part of an intensive camp designed to improve their skills while giving them an early insight into the reality of life for an elite surf sport athlete.
Lennox Head duo Maalik Moston and Oliver Sharpe were joined by Cudgen's Lilly O'Sullivan and Yamba nipper Kalani Ives in Sydney.
There were 43 teenage athletes aged between 12 and 14 from across NSW at the Academy of Sport on the Northern Beaches.
It was the first time many of them had been exposed to a high-performance environment, although most of them have already enjoyed success at the NSW Country and State Championships in their fledgling careers.
Throughout the three-day program the athletes took part in training sessions under the eagle eye of some of the best surf sports coaches going around, including Jim Walker, mentor of the NSW Senior team.
The athletes attended discussions on nutrition, had their skills and techniques analysed and were introduced to high performance and recovery techniques.
Additionally some of the lectures were delivered by guest speakers with their own background in competitive sport providing an intriguing backdrop.
Mark Webster from Winning Edge spoke about the importance of sport psychology on performance, while London Olympian kayaker Jo Brigden-Jones delivered a lesson on goal-setting.
O'Sullivan, who competes in the under-14s, said she had an enjoyable experience during the program.
"It confirmed to me that the Ironperson is my favourite event because I like being able to do both the swim and board in the same event,” she said.
"I learned a lot that I can take back to training, such as how to start and finish on the board properly.
"I'll be heading to The Aussies and it would be fantastic to make a national final.”
Surf Life Saving NSW development officer Tim Piper said introducing these youngsters to a high-performance environment would accelerate their development.