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Interstate Championships set to light up Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Surf Life Saving's elite will converge on Sydney this weekend for the 2011 National Interstate Championships, with defending champions New South Wales looking to hold off a star-studded Queensland team.
The two-day event will see state teams contest pool lifesaving events on Sunday at Sydney's Olympic Aquatic Centre, and surf events on Monday at Queenscliff Beach in Sydney's north.
The New South Wales team, co-captained by Cronulla's Chris Allum and Queenscliff's Laura Shorter, will be looking to use their home-town advantage to get the better of a Queensland team featuring star Ironmen Matt Poole and Mitch Miller and Ironwomen Elizabeth Pluimers and Kristyl Smith.
Despite missing the likes of Ali Day and Naomi Flood, New South Wales themselves have no shortage of talent in their 36 member team, with Australian representatives Shorter, Kendrick Louis, Amy Nurthen, Alisha Miller and Devon Halligan all using the Interstates as part of their final preparation for the 2011 International Surf Rescue Championships in early February.
Surf Life Saving Australia's High Performance Manager and Australian Head Coach, Brett Dowker, believes competition will be fierce over the weekend and expects state pride to bring out the best of all athletes.
Dowker explained "New South Wales will be hard to beat once again, they've had an excellent preparation and seem to have a great formula for success, but I fully expect Queensland to be in the running right up until the final event.
"The great thing about this event is the team aspect of it; when competing as part of a state team it seems to spur athletes on to bigger things and that always makes for exciting competition."Dowker is excited to see the new crop of surf lifesaving athletes over the weekend, and will be closely monitoring the performances of the under 15 and 17 athletes in particular.
"The Interstate Championships will be a great opportunity to monitor the progress of our elite athletes from right around Australia. Weâre already planning towards Rescue 2012 (2012 World Lifesaving Championships) in Adelaide, and I'm keen to see the progress athletes have made, particularly in the pool competition.
"For the first time, an under 19 Australian team will be chosen for the world championships in 2012 so the under 17 and under 15 athletes will be closely watched."
Competition will commence at 9:30 am on Sunday morning at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, with surf events commencing at 8:30 am on Monday morning at Queenscliff Beach.
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