Surf's up for life savers
LIFE-SAVING athletes from Wexford excelled in the weather-battered finale of the Irish Water Safety Sport calendar at Clonea Strand, Dungarvan.
Competing against other top life savers from around the country, the Wexford men's team took bronze while the women's team came seventh.
Over 300 competitors from 14 counties competed in Senior and Master events based around key life-saving skills that attracts more than 5,000 participants annually in Ireland.
Dramatic conditions driven by gale force winds at Tramore Life-Saving Centre saw Safety Officer Buddy Cuddihy switch the venue to Clonea Strand near Dungarvan while some events were also curtailed.
Events are based around core life-saving skills including speed, strength, endurance and equipment handling. In an exceptional performance, Clare's Bernard Cahill won all five of his events - Surf swim, Rescue Board Race, Rescue Ski Race, Ocean Man Race and Board Rescue. The national championships featured most of Ireland's 11 medalists from the recent World Championships in Holland that saw Gold in the Youth Worlds for the 4 x 90-metre beach sprint relay, won by Emer Kelly and Emma O'Brien, from Wicklow and Georgina Steel and Denise Bolger, from Wexford, and a new world record was set by Denise Bolger, from Wexford with Rosin Cahill, from Clare, in the Pool line-throw event with a new time of 11.06 seconds.
The 2017 season begins with the Pool Rescue National Championships at the University of Limerick in mid-February.