Surf lifesaving: Fins hungry for third title in a row

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Max Beattie.
Max Beattie.

Papamoa's Natalie Peat, Olivia Eaton from Mount Maunganui and Omanu's Max Beattie and Devon Halligan have been selected by Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) in the Black Fins team of 12 who will attempt to become lifesaving world champions for the third straight year.

The team will compete at Rescue 2016 (the Lifesaving World Championships) in the Netherlands this September.

Ten of the 12 athletes are back from last year's champion team.

Peat was a late call-up to the team in 2014 when Ironwoman Halligan was forced to pull out with an injury. Halligan rejoins the team as does beach sprinter and rising star Eaton, who represented New Zealand in the Youth team in 2014. The other female athletes are Commonwealth Games swimmers Samantha Lee (Lyall Bay) and Laura Quilter (Wainui) and Nutri-Grain Ironwoman star Danielle McKenzie (Mairangi Bay).

The men's line-up is unchanged from 2014 with Ironman Beattie, former Olympic swimmers Steven Kent (Titahi Bay) and Andrew McMillan (St Clair), Ironman Cory Taylor (Midway), Paul Cracroft-Wilson (Fitzroy) and Chris Dawson (Midway).

Held every two years, the Lifesaving World Championships is the largest international lifesaving sport competition and attracts competitors from more than 40 nations. This year, it is hosted by the Netherlands where the Black Fins will defend their consecutive titles of world champions.

Black Fins coach Jason Pocock says the pressure is really on to step up once again and win that title for the third time in a row.

"Our athletes worked really hard to create history in 2014 by winning the first back-to-back world title. However, our athletes aren't prepared to stop there and they are hungry to keep striving and achieving and we have a strong team who I believe are capable of doing just that," Pocock said.

"The team has the advantage of knowing each other's strengths but there are still a busy couple of months ahead of intense training and team building activities before the event in September."

Black Fins:

Andrew McMillan, St Clair; Chris Dawson, Midway; Cory Taylor, Midway; Max Beattie, Omanu; Paul Cracroft-Wilson, Fitzroy; Steven Kent, Titahi Bay; Danielle McKenzie, Mairangi Bay; Devon Halligan, Omanu; Laura Quilter, Wainui; Natalie Peat, Papamoa; Olivia Eaton, Mount Maunganui; Samantha Lee, Lyall Bay.

Management: Jason Pocock, coach; Steven Ferguson, assistant coach; Mark Weatherall, manager; Steven Vaughan, assistant manager; Susan Pirrett, physio; Brett Robinson, technical support coach.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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