It was a weekend of thrills and spills at the 2018 Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) National Titles at Thirroul Beach in NSW over the weekend, with Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club taking out Victoria’s second only IRB title (last title 2010) by one mere point.
Williamstown finished the competition on 17 points, one point clear of QLD’s Broadbeach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) on 16 points, and 6 points ahead of third place takers Kiama Downs SLSC from NSW.
Williamstown members making up the Victorian IRB team included Rachael Moloney, Abby Esdale, Sophie Doro, Kate Czerny, Ella Cridland, Claire Walton, Erin Damen, Calum Dickson, Alastair Thomas, Rhys Treloar, Shaun Leith and Christian Aquila.
The team was led by State Coach Scott Ivey and Team Manager Ben Griffin, who said words could not describe how the team was feeling after taking out first place in what was a very close competition.
“We are elated. We are over the moon. Today’s conditions were challenging but for Victorians it was enjoyable, we like the cold. Our teams raced to their best and we are thrilled with the outcome,” said Mr Griffin.
“We want to say congratulations to Broadbeach, a great competitor. With a one-point difference, it really came down to the wire,” added Mr Ivey.
Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club President Paul Sullivan said the bulk of this year’s Victorian team was made up of Williamstown representatives, with a couple of team members who experienced the winning feeling back in 2010.
“Williamstown won the Australian title in Tasmania and now we have won it in New South Wales. Williamstown is the only Victorian club to win two titles and a couple of people in this year’s team actually competed back then as well,” Mr Sullivan said.
“They have always explored ways to improve their overall skill and it just highlights their commitment to the lifesaving movement. They don’t just complete in the events, they fulfil their duties patrolling Williamstown Beach over summer.”
“There are many sports out there, but surf lifesaving is one that comes back in spades back into the community, in providing a safe environment for people to come back to the beach over summer.”
“They are a really committed team. They work well as a team. It’s fantastic. The club is very, very proud. We’ll be celebrating on Saturday with some of our life members who will have another reason to celebrate.”