With a home advantage and local support, Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service is hoping to make history with a record, tenth national surf lifesaving title this weekend.
The club goes into the Surf Life Saving National Championships, which begin tomorrow, with the home beach advantage but club coach John Bryant says they cannot be complacent.
If Mount Maunganui does win the overall title, and lift the Alan Gardner Trophy, they will be the first to win 10 titles since the trophy was first contested in 1958. Mount Maunganui has won the past six national club titles, and last year's triumph set a new record for consecutive titles. They surpassed South Brighton for consecutive wins and both clubs head into this week with nine titles each.
Masters events get underway today before the three-day senior championships start tomorrow. Mount Maunganui club coach John Bryant says the club has 39 masters and 89 seniors competing at the championships.
"This will be a hard one. Our teams on paper looks like we would bolt in, but we have to execute everything correctly. We will have strong competition from the likes of Waikanae, Mairangi Bay and East End.
"Being at home is an advantage because we know the beach. There is also nothing like having your own support. Each night we go home to our own beds and eat the food we normally do. But it can also be a disadvantage if we get complacent.
"We don't take anything for granted, we don't go into it to defend the title, we are there to win it. It is about doing the best we possibly can and if the best is not good enough, so be it."
Bryant says they pulled back the mileage in training recently as the athletes tapered for the culmination of a long season.
"We are very proud of the yellow, black and white. When we talk about being a team and about racing for each other. We always say our individuals are only strong as our teams."
Event manager Chris Emmett says all is set for a great few days.
"We were nervous last week with the long-range forecast but it really settled down and the next four days should be nearly ideal - there should be a nice wave to challenge competitors, with a mix of sunshine and cloud so it doesn't get too hot.
"We've really stepped things up at these nationals and it's fantastic to see scaffolding going up for live-streaming for the first time in a long time as part of the beach set-up.
"We're aiming to bring back the action and excitement at this carnival, not only for the benefit of the spectators but for the enjoyment of the athletes too."
Senior competitors for Bay of Plenty clubs:
Mount Maunganui: 89
Waihī Beach: 24