Nippers star at the Illawarra Junior Branch Championships

Many of the most promising young surf lifesavers in the Illawarra starred at the annual Illawarra Junior Branch Surf Life Saving Championships at Wollongong City Beach.

Host club Wollongong City had around 60 nippers aged from under 8s to under 14s compete at Sunday’s championships.

The event featured 17 clubs from across the Illawarra branch which extends from Helensburgh in Illawarra’s north to Windang in the south.

Around 300 talented young nippers took part in a massive morning of beach and swim events in testing conditions, though fortunately the predicted oppressive heat did not eventuate.

It was the first time Wollongong City had hosted the prestigious annual championships in many years.

‘’It was a great effort from the parents and volunteers and members of our club through to the elders to come together and help put on a successful championship,’’ said Tony Gorgijovski, junior chairman of Wollongong City SLSC.

 ‘’It wasn’t our most successful day but we were there or there-abouts in a number of events. To have 60 nippers compete was pleasing and everyone tried their best and proudly represented the club.

The strong Bulli SLSC were among the outstanding clubs and did very well in a number of the water events in particular, while Corrimal won the March Pass.

Tobias Delaney was among Wollongong City’s top performers, winning the Under 12 Boys Beach Sprint and Flags events.

Jaida Tyler was also outstanding in winning the Under 8s Girls Beach Sprint in her first time in the Illawarra Junior Branch Championships.

‘’Jaida and Tobias were our standouts and the level of competition was very high,’’ Gorgijovski said.

Hannah Campbell also performed extremely well in the All Age Board Relay for nippers from under 9s to under 14s age groups.

 In testing conditions Hannah stepped up against around a dozen of the best young nippers in the Illawarra and showed she has a great future at this level.

Other Wollongong City highlights included the club claiming silver in the U12s swim teams relay.

 The Junior Branch Championships were held in the morning, while in a big day of surf Life Saving, the Open and Masters branch championships were run in the afternoon.

The top junior competitors from the Branch Championships will represent Illawarra at the state titles at Swansea Belmont in early March.

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