WARRNAMBOOL’S main beach will welcome more than 700 surf lifesavers for two Life Saving Victoria (LSV) carnivals this weekend.
About 450 budding youngsters aged eight to 14 will take part in a LSV Nippers carnivals today, the fourth of five on the state calendar.
The open-aged competitors take centre stage for round seven of the LSV summer series tomorrow, which has attracted about 300 entries.
Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club Nippers co-ordinator Alan Aulsebrook said the club was gearing up for the biggest weekend of its season.
Aulsebrook said about 80 nippers and 16 open-age surf lifesavers would represent the club on its home beach.
“We’re very happy with the number of junior competitors. It’s basically 50 per cent of our nipper program,” he said.
“There is a solid core of 10 to a dozen (open-age competitors) that go away to those senior carnivals every second weekend, but we should get a few more.
“We’re very successful for such a modest-sized team.”
The two carnivals will put competitors through beach sprints, beach flags, Malibu board, ski and double ski and ocean swimming disciplines.
The ironman and ironwoman events are a combination of multiple legs while there are also relays.
Warrnambool trio Steve Kerr, John Hart and Ned Aulsebrook will be strong contenders in the open-age Malibu board and ski relays.
On the nipper front, under 14s Paddy Carr, Matthew Hardiman, Shayla Casamento and Laura Keert have enjoyed encouraging seasons on the sand.
Alan Auslebrook said home-beach advantage would help the Warrnambool competitors today and tomorrow.
“I’d say for the seniors, yes. It’s their training ground, they know the run of the water, they know the run of the beach.
“That certainly is an advantage, and the fact you don’t have to travel is a huge advantage.
“Our competitors get out of their cars with their eyes hanging out and then go and compete (most other weekends).
“For the nippers, while they don’t do a lot of long-range competition it’s definitely an advantage for them because it’s familiar territory.”
Aulsebrook said Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club was strong for a club located so far from Melbourne.
“Our nipper numbers in the past five years have basically doubled,” he said.
“Our senior competition numbers and the kids coming from nippers into cadets are improving.”
n Meanwhile, Warrnambool’s Brauerander Park will play host to Little Athletics’ western country region championships today and tomorrow.
Hundreds of budding athletes from Portland to Colac and up to Swan Hill will converge on the Caramut Road track for the two-day titles.
They will compete in track events from 70 metres up to 1500 metres as well as long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, discus and javelin.
The titles are for athletes aged from under six to under 15.
But only those from under nine to under 15 are vying to qualify for state championships, on March 23 and 24 at Bendigo.