REDHEAD ironman Daniel Collins will be out to consolidate his place inside the qualification zone for the national ironman final when the Summer of Surf Series hits Fingal Bay this weekend.
Collins sits 11th on the SOS ironman standings, one spot ahead of club and training mate Isak Costello, after two rounds of the six-stop series.
More importantly, Collins is fifth among those not already qualified for the televised, $200,000 ironman series final on February 24-26 at Cronulla. The top five non-qualified athletes, based on their best three efforts from the SOS, earn a spot in the final, which has replaced the six-round national series.
Collins, 20, was thrilled with his position given he took a month off to travel in Europe and compete at the world lifesaving titles in the Netherlands in September.
“I'm over the moon because I had a bit of time off before the Summer of Surf started,” Collins said. “I had only about two weeks training before the first round, so my fitness levels weren't that hot. I ended up making the final and got an 18th. That was hopefully a do-away result. Then I got eighth at Newport a few weeks ago.”
The Fingal Bay round is the only one close to home for Collins and Costello, who are hoping to capitalise.
“You want three solid, top-10 results to get your spot," Collins said. “I'm feeling good, fit and ready to go, and it's good to get one at a local beach. I've competed there a fair bit and my fitness is starting to get to where it should be.”
Heats and semi-finals of the ironman/ironwoman events will be held Saturday from 1pm. Finals start at 12.30pm Sunday.
As for the conditions, Collins said: “It's always really flat there and my swimming background's pretty good for the flat, but then again it's good to get a wave sometimes when you're too fit.
“We’ve had flat rounds for the first two rounds but we'll see how it turns out.”
The Summer of Surf Series takes in a long list of events and has already been held at Alexandra Headland and Newport.
After Fingal Bay, it will be held in Torquay, North Wollongong and Surfers Paradise.