The annual Surf Life Saving Club season is well under way with the safety of our beaches the main focus for many over the summer months and with regional bragging rights on the line, there will be plenty of high quality competition when the annual NSW Interbranch Championships gets underway on Saturday.
Each of the 11 branches within Surf Life Saving NSW will send an elite representative team to the competition, which will be held this year at Catherine Hill Bay SLSC.
The Interbranch is unique in format, with a maximum of 42 athletes from each branch, comprised of three male and female competitors in the Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 17, Under 19 and Open age groups.
With such a limited amount of athletes contesting each event, points will be at a premium during the two-day carnival, and getting a win for your branch will be crucial in deciding who gets to take home the ultimate prize.
For the athletes themselves, the carnival is their last opportunity to push their chances of being named in the state team, which will be announced on Sunday evening immediately following the competition.
Sydney Branch are the defending champions, while their main rival Sydney Northern Beaches will be keen to reclaim the title they last held in 2012. Hosts Hunter Branch will also be a dominant force in familiar territory, while the Central Coast will be out to improve on last year’s third placed finish.
Country branches; Far North Coast, North Coast, Mid North Coast, Lower North Coast, South Coast, and Far South Coast will be using the event as their last chance to tune up against their bigger rivals before resuming training for next months’ Country Championships. Surf Life Saving NSW Surf Sports Manager, Shane Knight, is anticipating a highly competitive event.
‘The Interbranch is always a tough event with every branch determined to do their best and score crucial points over their rivals – it’s always hard to predict a winner’, says Knight. ‘Sydney will be doing their best to defend their success from last year, but I am sure the other branches will be hot on their heels.
‘It should be a fantastic carnival.’
As always with major events the weather could be a concern. The forecast indicates conditions are likely to be cool with a strong possibility of rain. Conditions will be assessed on the day, and all decisions will be communicated to competitors, officials, and spectators as soon as they come to hand.