Surf lifesaving: Mount dominate titles on home turf

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The Mount Maunganui under-19 taplin teams finished first and second in an outstanding display at the Eastern Regional surf lifesaving championships. Photo / Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
The Mount Maunganui under-19 taplin teams finished first and second in an outstanding display at the Eastern Regional surf lifesaving championships. Photo / Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

Piha teenager Hannah Williams broke through for her first major ironwoman win at a memorable Eastern Regional surf lifesaving championships on Sunday.

The 17-year-old won the under-19 title in heavy shorebreak in Mount Maunganui and was convinced by coach Steve Ferguson to forgo a break and try for the open title as well.

"I was on the finish line after the under-19s and Steve said 'the open women are on the line - do you want to do it?'. I was pretty smashed but there's always a little bit of energy left, so I thought why not," Williams said. "Some of my other races were pretty average so I thought the under-19 final was going to be the one ... it turned out I had two in me."

Although the open women's field was missing Mairangi Bay's Danielle McKenzie - who nursed an ankle injury through the two-day carnival - and Omanu's Devon Halligan, Williams still beat home accomplished Mount Maunganui locals Jess Miller and Katie Wilson.

It backed up a great start to the season, after finishing second behind Piha teammate Kirsty Wannan at the Mount Monster endurance race before Christmas.

Read more: Warm weather for the Bay this week, not Waitangi

"I didn't feel that confident going into it because the under-19 field is pretty strong at the moment but this weekend has definitely given me a boost."

The ironman title went to Australian-based Omanu star, and reigning national champion, Max Beattie. He headed home his Omanu teammate Ben Cochrane, with Muriwai's Jake Allen third, after also taking out the board race and surf race finals.

No-one could stop the rampant Mount Maunganui team taking out the club points title finishing on 178 points after two days, 107 clear of second-placed Mairangi Bay, with Piha third on 62. It's a continuation of the club's recent dominance at national level. Highlights from the weekend included victory in the open men's taplin, taking out the top three placings in both the under-19 men's and women's board race finals and having six-man teams finish first and second in the under-16 taplin.

Across their teams, Mount Maunganui collected five of the six taplin titles across the three age groups, finishing second in the open women's behind Mairangi Bay. Mairangi Bay had a good day in the boats too, taking first and third in the open men's long course final.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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