TWO Warrnambool Surf Lifesaving Club youngsters will test themselves in a new environment at the Australian Interstate Championships.
Darcy Bridgewater, 14, and Mia Cook, 13, scored their first selection in the Lifesaving Victoria state team for the annual interstate carnival, which takes place at Alexandra Headland on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on January 24.
The Emmanuel College students will form part of Victoria's junior team while senior competition squad members Matt Hardiman and Brayden Casamento return for their fifth and second time in the state team.
The carnival provides the four keen lifesavers with a chance to test where they are at against some of the best in the country early into their season.
Bridgewater, who is set to compete in board and beach events, said he was grateful for the opportunity.
"I just want to get some good results against some of the older people," he said.
Cook, who is marked down to tackle the board, swimming and iron events, is relishing her chance to dive into a new environment.
"It's going to be a lot more difficult because obviously the races are so much more highly impacted," she said.
The pair, who have been doing lifesaving since they were six years old, said their training was focused around making sure their basic skills were of the highest standard.
Hardiman and Casamento will be knowledgeable sounding boards for the young duo as they step into a new environment.
"They've been up there before and know the race qualities and how they train and they'll give us some tips and tricks," Cook said.
Hardiman, who will compete in his usual board events as well as the beach sprints, is eager to put his best foot forward at another interstate carnival.
The 20-year-old also backed his form heading into the carnival, which will see over 166 athletes compete across 46 events.
"I have had plenty of races and plenty of interstate races this year," he said. "Training has been going well and I'm getting more experience and better as the season goes on.
"I'm hoping to try and peak for this carnival and put some good results on the board to give myself some confidence for Vics (state titles) and Aussies (national titles) later in the year."
Casamento said he was eager to put his slow start behind him and dive into his first interstate carnival of the season.
"I'm feeling as good as can be. It's been a bit of a slower start this year not having as many carnivals," the 19-year-old said.
"We haven't been away yet so this is my first hitout against people outside of Victoria but besides that challenge I'm keen to see where I am and hit an early stepping stone for Aussies."
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