Next month’s Australian Surf Life Saving Championships near Perth are still the “main aim” for Nicola Owen, but that won’t stop a jam-packed state program closer to home.
Buoyed by an appearance at the recent senior Ocean6 Series, the 16-year-old Redhead club member will endeavour to contest almost 10 events at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships being held at Blacksmiths Beach from Friday.
The year 11 student at Hamilton’s St Francis Xavier’s College hopes to earn more state medals in 2018 following silver in the ironwoman and bronze on the board last season.
Owen also has single ski and swim disciplines on her radar plus four team relays.
Despite being struck down by the flu recently, the under-17 competitor said she has considered stepping up and “might give the open board a crack to see how I go”.
In elite senior company the Merewether resident made top-20 finals of the inaugural Ocean6 series at North Wollongong in December and at Queenscliff in October. She was 10th and 15th respectively.
“It was a very good experience,” she said. “You don’t get to do that very often and I didn’t expect to make two finals.”
Owen will be joined at the NSW titles by Redhead clubmates Daniel Collins as well as Isak and Lily Costello. The likes of Nicholas Stoddart, Angela Leadbeatter, Ashby Allen, Kurt Murphy and Beau McGregor will fly the Swansea-Belmont flag at their home break.
More than 2000 participants from 83 clubs are registered across the four divisions of the three-day carnival including Rio Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons (Avoca).
Meanwhile, Redhead finished third at the NSW Surf Life Saving Masters Championships that wrapped up at Blacksmiths on Thursday.
The Hunter representatives claimed bronze behind champions Bondi and runner’s up North Bondi after collecting 32 medals, featuring 13 gold, during the two days of competition.