Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is proud to announce the team of 12 athletes who will attempt to take out the title of lifesaving world champions for the third time in a row.
The team, known as the Black Fins, will compete at Rescue 2016 (the Lifesaving World
Championships) in the Netherlands this September.
SLSNZ President Neale Ames announced the team this afternoon which includes 10 members of the winning Rescue 2014 team.
The six female athletes include Commonwealth Games swimmers Samantha Lee (Lyall Bay) and Laura Quilter (Wainui) and Nutri-Grain Ironnwoman star Danielle McKenzie (Mairangi Bay). Also returning to the team is Papamoa's Natalie Peat who was a late call up to the team in 2014 when Ironwoman Devon Halligan (Omanu) was forced to pull out with an injury. This year, Halligan re-joins the team along with beach sprinter and rising star Olivia Eaton (Mt Maunganui), who represented New Zealand in the Youth team in 2014.
The men's line-up remains unchanged from 2014 and includes former Olympic swimmers Steven Kent (Titahi Bay) and Andrew McMillan (St Clair) along with Ironmen Max Beattie (Omanu) and Cory Taylor (Midway) who took part in their first Kellogg's Nutri-Grain series this year. They are joined by Paul Cracroft-Wilson (Fitzroy) and Chris Dawson (Midway).
Held every two years, the Lifesaving World Championships is the largest international lifesaving sport competition in the world and attracts competitors from over 40 nations.
This year, it is being held in The Netherlands from September 1-18 with the national team's competition taking place from September 6-11.
It is here that the Black Fins will be defending their back-to-back title of world champions; a title that was first prised from Australia nearly four years ago in Adelaide at Rescue 2012 and again in France at Rescue 2014.
Black Fins coach Jason Pocock says the pressure in 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 and we're incredibly proud of that achievement. 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," he says.
Mr Pocock says 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.
New Zealand will also be sending a previously named Youth team. Like the Open team, the Youth team features six male and six female athletes.
New Zealand 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
Jason Pocock, coach
Steven Ferguson, assistant coach
Mark Weatherall, manager
Steven Vaughan, assistant manager
Susan Pirrett, physio
Brett Robinson, technical support coach