It was a winning double for Illawarra talents after Bailey Krstevski and Sarah Locke emerged victorious in round two of the Sydney Water Surf Series on Saturday.
Cronulla talents Nathan Jay and Emily Maythers had dominated the first round of the annual competition a fortnight ago, however, Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club's Krstevski and Bulli local Locke guaranteed that there wouldn't be a repeat at Kiama Downs.
In good surf conditions - despite Saturday's wet weather - Krstevski powered ahead in his swim leg which set him up to secure the win ahead of Elouera's Charlie Morris and Krtevski's clubmates Lachlan Blake and Tyler McEwan.
Saturday's result continues Krtevski's eye-watering start to the 2023/24 surf lifesaving season.
The teenager, who finished fourth in the series' opening round at Warilla, also finished fourth in the open men's category at the recent Coolangatta Gold, the event which signals the unofficial start of the Nutri-Grain Ironman summer.
Post-race on Saturday, the 19-year-old was delighted to secure a win in the Sydney Water Surf Series. The Illawarra-based competition attracts some of the best surf lifesaving talent from across NSW.
"I've found it a bit of a struggle the last few weeks, there's been some difficult surf. But to come away with one, it feels really good," he said.
"We're such a close group (at Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC), it's crazy and amazing to train with all of those guys. We always push each other to our limits and it's all making us better at the end of the day."
Krstevski added that he hoped to follow in the footsteps of some of Warilla's leading Nutri-Grain Ironman talent, including Ali Day, Ben Carberry and Hayden White.
"Those guys have shown everyone at our club that there's a way to make it, even from down south," he said.
"With people like Ali, Benny and Hayden, it's going to be hard to get to their level, but they're an inspiration for all of us."
Meanwhile, Bulli's Locke emerged victorious in the open Ironwoman category on Saturday.
After finishing runner-up in round one a fortnight ago, Locke was able to go one step better at Kiama Downs, with a powerful swim leg proving vital as the Newport SLSC representative won from Warilla's Jordan White and Maythers (North Cronulla).
"I've been doing lots of swimming and Iron training. And I like it when it's swim first, because that's my strongest leg, so I've been really working on that in the pool to try get ahead," Locke said.
"Massive thanks to my Dad, he helps me out a couple of times a week on the ski, catching runs and always trailing next to me. He's always giving me lots of advice and tips."
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