Two hundred surf life saving athletes from across the North Island will converge on Hamilton’s Waterworld this weekend for the 2019 Eastern Regional Rescue Championships.
The competition, running throughout Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September, involves athletes replicating shoreline and ocean surf life saving skills in the pool environment. These types of competitions are growing in importance in the New Zealand surf life saving sector, and are based on European contests.
With the patrol season starting on many beaches next month, the pool titles are an ideal way to test the fitness and speed of lifeguards, in a variety of simulated rescue events.
“It’s vitally important our lifeguards hit the summer season in peak physical condition and the pool rescue events are the ideal way to achieve that,” Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Sport Manager Mark Inglis says.
“We’re delighted with the numbers competing this weekend, as they build up for next month’s national championships in Auckland, and the wide variety of ages entered paints a pretty good portrait of the health of our movement at the moment.”
Rescue events include tube rescue and manikin carry events, with obstacle races helping lifeguards work on their agility and effectiveness under water.
Stuart Davidson, Hamilton City Council’s Aquatics Manager, says Waterworld’s 50m and dive pool will busy with the various age-group events forming part of the weekend’s competition.
“This is an exciting and fast-paced event for our facility,” Mr Davidson says.
“Waterworld hosts this competition every year and the athletes, coaches, officials and supporters bring a great energy and drive to Waterworld. We’re really pleased the event is back at Waterworld and the competitors can show what they’ve got.”
Mr Davidson says as well as improving the overall operation of Waterworld for casual and regular customers, the 2018 refurbishment of the facility has made it a more attractive proposition for organisers of pool-based events and competitions.
“We want to reinforce Waterworld’s position as a high-quality water sports venue and continue to host great events like this. Surf life saving is fundamental to New Zealanders’ enjoyment of our beaches and the ocean and we’re proud to have a role in that through hosting this event.”
Due to this weekend’s event, Waterworld’s 50m and dive pool will be only available to the public from 7am to 9am, and 6pm to 8pm on Saturday, and after 5pm on Sunday. Lane or casual swimmers can visit Gallagher Aquatic Centre for their swimming needs.