The Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club has struck Gold at the Nationals, stealing the show from a stronger Sydney club.
Magnetic Island’s magnificent trio to contest the National Surf Lifesaving Championships U/14 Surf Race final recently, from left, Amarlie Duxbury, Lauren Nugent and Sophie Tickle, together with coach, Lisa Nugent
A Magnetic Island trio from tiny Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club had television commentators in a spin when their distinctive three blue-and-gold caps bobbed up in the final of the U/14 Surf Race at the recent Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kirra on the Gold Coast.
The girls – Lauren Nugent, Amarlie Duxbury and Sophie Tickle – were mistaken for competitors from a strong Sydney club during the live broadcast. When interviewed to camera afterwards, they set the record straight, saying they were from Magnetic Island, off the coast of Townsville, obviously proud ambassadors for their club, one of only two clubs to achieve the feat of putting up a trio of competitors in the 32-strong national final field.
In that final, Lauren was eighth, Amarlie was in the top 20, and Sophie Tickle was in the top 25 – a brilliant effort considering Sophie just returned to training six months ago after a three-year lay-off.
The club struck Gold at the Nationals with Lauren winning the two-kilometre U/14 Beach Event. She beat a field of more than 50 other runners by a convincing distance of 150 metres in soft sand at a blistering pace. Some competitors were disqualified
for straying onto the hard sand to gain an advantage.
Amarlie and Lauren also made it into the prestigious Iron Woman U/14 finals, competing among a field of 16, outperforming 110 competitors vying for this National Titles privilege. After terrible starts in the board legs from both girls, they worked hard in their run transitions and caught up in their swims, with Lauren coming 6th and Amarlie 10th.
Pleased to be home on Magnetic Island, the Arcadian Surf Lifesaving Club trio who contested a National Surf Lifesaving Championship U/14 Surf Race final together were, from left, Amarlie Duxbury, Sophie Tickle and Lauren Nugent
Club coach, Lisa Nugent, says these achievements are entirely down to the hard work that got the girls to the finals together.
“It was a fantastic achievement for a little club where members only see surf once a month,” Lisa says.
“On the way down there I told them that to be competing at all already made them winners! The parents took a squad of seven down the week before so I could train them in the surf. There was a notable difference in the standard of equipment that the bigger Gold Coast clubs had and their competitors were huge.”
Lisa, herself a state, national and world title winner, certainly put her stamp on the national coaching scene with these National Title results, despite wanting the girls to take all the credit. She has been coaching for 12 years at the Gerry Winn Memorial Pool on Magnetic Island and at ASLSC. She also coaches middle and long-distance running.
“I’ve been involved in sport all my life,” she says. “I started lifesaving as a three-year old at Arcadian surf club before moving to Mackay as a nine-year-old with my family. I joined Mackay surf club and went on to win a number of medals.
“I was also a runner, starting as a sprinter before turning to middle distance. Back then we didn’t really have coaches … I coached myself for many years and realised, at an early age, the importance of cross training. I guess that’s where my passion for coaching started. I’m really enjoying helping others try to reach their goals.”
Lisa’s daughter Lauren, like her mother, is a tiny but tenacious flyweight. She, too, has been involved at the club since she was a toddler.
Unfortunately Lauren was unable to contest the Beach Flags, despite having won silver in this event in the state titles. There was a clash with water team events in the timetable of this event. There were no U/14 team events. Lauren, Sophie, Amarlie and fellow club member, Georgia Ross, competed in the U/15 team events, securing a place in the Surf Teams Final, the only team consisting of four U/14 girls to do so in the U/15 event. They placed eighth in the final.
Amarlie and Lauren were the only team consisting of two U/14-year-olds to contest the U/15 Board Rescue event, coming 5th in the national final from a field of 84 contestants, which came down to nine teams in the final.
“I coached myself for many years and realised, at an early age, the importance of cross training. I guess that’s where my passion for coaching started. I’m really enjoying helping others try to reach their goals.”
The club’s U/15 competitor, Tom Lyons, narrowly missed out on a medal in the final of the Beach Sprint, placing 4th. Determined to bring home a medal, he worked hard in the Beach Flags and it paid off, with Tom winning Bronze.
The other club members who competed in the national titles were Ben Tumelty U/14 and Elke Aulsebrook U/14. Lisa is aiming to take a club squad through the district, state and national titles next year. She has her sights firmly set on the nationals at Scarborough, Western Australia in April 2018 and is building the squad up to compete in the World Surf Lifesaving Titles in Adelaide in November 2018.
In the meantime, there’s a winter lay-off for the team, then it’s back into training and fundraising so the squad can be competitive.
Please direct sponsorship inquiries to help parents offset costs to Cindy Shafer on 0433 149 656.