Top spot wanted
FIFTY-NINE senior and junior athletes from Tannum Sands Surf Life Saving Club will take on the challenges of Mackay's Harbour Beach in the Northern Australian Championships (NAC) from this Friday and the weekend.
The club will be represented by 30 seniors and 29 juniors who will compete against clubs from Darwin to Port Douglas and as far south as Harvey Bay.
The three-day test of the fittest and most mentally strong will comprise of Masters age down to under-11.
TSSLSC finished behind Cairns last year and Georgia Bell is hell-bent of her team going one better.
"I have trained throughout the winter season and to have a good mindset is important," Georgia, 13, said.
She made the Queensland Country team last year and knows what to expect in Mackay. "I have been competing in it since under-11s," she added. The combined coaching of Gladstone Gladiators' swimming coach Tom Fronek and TSSLSC head coach John Andrews in swimming and ironman disciplines has Georgia primed.
"John is a great coach and encourages us to work to the best of our abilities," she said.
TSSLSC head coach John Andrews said the club will be tested because teams from Northern Queensland are at their season end.
"It is a great opportunity to go away as a club and the only one of its kind on our competition calendar where the juniors compete on the same beach as the seniors in the same weekend," Andrew added.
Junior surf life saver Taj Andrews will compete in his first major event, but is ready for the gruelling three days.
"Training has been hard and have been doing ironmans and heart-starters where we do like 20 strokes in swimming," Taj, 11, said. The youngster said his strength lies on the board.
Andrews said there is plenty of motivation for those in the under-13 to under-17 age bracket.
"There are higher honours at stake with the opportunity to be selected to represent the Queensland Country team in the Queensland Interbranch Championships held at Coolangatta on November 5," Andrews said.
"Five out of the 20 Queensland Country representatives selected last year were from Tannum."
The NAC starts off with pool rescue, inflatable boat rescue racing and champion lifesaver events on Friday and the event culminates with the highly-anticipated ironman race and all-age relay on Sunday.
"Tannum has put forward six teams in this event which consists of the fastest beach sprinter from each age group from under-11 to opens and masters," Andrews said.