Nippers go for gold

THE NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships at Umina and Ocean beaches on the Central Coast last weekend produced another crop of team and individual state champions, from under-9 to under-14.

There were plenty of tears during an emotional weekend for many young athletes and their parents. Tears of joy, frustration, anguish, pain and happiness were all on display.

Autumn came early to the Nippers carnival, which drew 3500 competitors from 80 clubs, from the NSW/Queensland border to Pambula in the south.

Showers during the three-day competition made conditions hard-going, and cut the first day's program short.

At Sunday's finals the best was offered after the morning march past; pleasant, dry conditions with a light on-shore breeze.

Heats interspersed with gold medal flag finals ran through to Saturday afternoon, when the relay and individual sprint finals drew a large crowd to Ocean Beach's sand track.

On Sunday, attention turned to the surf and board events and the carnival highpoint, the under-14 ironman and woman.

A previous Country medallist, Kasey Ashburner (Warilla-Barrack Point), had never won a medal at state but that changed on Sunday when Kasey charged through to win a bronze medal in the under-11 swim.

Kasey is coached by Ross Day, father of champion ironman Ali Day, who was extremely proud of his new young protege.

Other South Coast medal winners included Matthew Sperring (Warilla-Barrack Point) with a third in the 14s swim, Holly Abbey (Nowra Culburra) won the under-11 Beach Sprint, Kyle Attard (Shellharbour) finished third in the under-14 Beach Sprint and the Warilla-Barrack Point under-14 male swim team also finished third.

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