MENTONE Surf Life Saving Club put in a strong team effort to collect Victorian Junior Life Saving Championships honours in Warrnambool yesterday.
Mentone was the best-performed club at the two-day competition, collecting 391 points to finish ahead of Half Moon Bay (319) and Jan Juc (293).
Ocean Grove’s Shae Straw-McMahon was dominant in the girls’ under 14 section, finishing with seven medals, and Half Moon Bay’s Oscar Jones collected six medals in the boys’ under 14 section.
Warrnambool had eight medallists. Brayden Casamento was the club’s standout performer, collecting three medals.
He won silver in the boys’ under 13 individual board and teamed with Hayden Carr for gold in the boys’ under 13 board rescue.
Brayden, Hayden and Paddy O’Brien won the boys’ under 13 board event in a sprint finish.
Elke Aulsebrook earned silver in the girls’ under 11 individual board and joined Stella Bridgewater and Annelli Cook for silver in the girls’ under 11 board relay.
Mick Slockwitch snared silver in the boys’ under 14 one-kilometre beach run and Conor Cook took bronze in the boys’ under 12 beach sprint.
Warrnambool coach Stephen Kerr said the medal tally emphasised the club’s competitive improvement.
“We had a lot of kids make finals, which was great and terrific to see,” he said.
“It’s our best medal haul for a number of years.
“I think we got three last year so we’re heading in the right direction after a lean patch for a couple of years.”
Club president Michael Owen said the championships, in Warrnambool for the first time since 2007, were well received.
“We had 1600 entrants and another 3500 people added to that who were here, so we probably had 5000 people,” he said.
“It’s been busy. I know a lot of clubs down here have camped in big groups.
“The Lions club was flat out helping with our barbecue and we had 50 to 70 helpers around the club doing jobs.”
The only hiccup during the event was seaweed.
Owen praised Warrnambool City Council for its help.
“They came and reass-essed it on Saturday and did some work Saturday afternoon and this morning they were here at 6.30am and cleaned up a large area again,” Owen said.