15 members of the Crawley Town Life Saving Club travelled to the magnificent pool and beach venues of Riccione, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, to compete in the European Life Saving Championships (National, Club and Masters competitions) held over a two week period. They returned triumphant with eight European titles, thirteen gold, 10 silver and three bronze medals.
Zara Williams, representing Great Britain Open Ladies in the National Championships, retained gold in her favoured 50m Manikin Carry event, but narrowly lost out to her French arch rival Magali Rousseau, by just twelve one hundredths of a second in the 100m Rescue Medley, so having to settle for silver. On the beach, she teamed up with her Crawley Town team mate, Marina Macartney, and two other ladies to win a team gold in the Rescue Tube Rescue. Marina also took a bronze with three other GBR team mates in the Ocean relay event. Crawley Town’s Sam Lawman took gold on his GBR debut for the Open Men with three others in the beach relay. Sam also became an unexpected TV star when the film crew of Belgium’s version of Baywatch recognised his athletic appeal. Also making his GBR debut was Alex Jackson who won bronze in the Youth Men’s 12.5m line throw event.
Zara, Marina and Sam helped the GBR Open team to achieve 4th place in the pool (162 point behind 3rd place France) but despite closing the gap on the beach by finishing 2nd (50 points behind France) they could not make up sufficient points to gain a podium place overall. France went on to win, 101 points in front of the Italians in second, with Germany finishing third, 156 points ahead of GBR, who were closely followed by Spain, 20 points behind in a field of 20 nations. In the Youth competition GBR finished in 7th place in the pool (362 points adrift of the winners Italy) and despite winning the beach by 37 points over France, the differential was too great for a podium place, so GBR finished 5th overall out of the 15 competing nations.
The European Club Lifesaving Club Championships immediately followed the International event, but despite little rest Zara proved she is a true champion when successfully defending both her European Club titles: 50m Manikin Carry and 100m Rescue Medley. She also took gold in the 12.5m line throw, for which she is the current British record holder, with her partner Marina, before the pair teamed up with Jayne Stallion and Jade Hand in the relays achieving their highest place 5th in the 4 x25m Manikin relay. By this stage Marina had already been involved in over twenty races but still found the energy to take bronze on the last day of the Club Championships in the 90m beach sprint. Equalling Zara’s line throw performance in the men’s championship, Crawley Town’s Martin Schofield with partner Mathieu Perrillon (a French International Open competitor making his debut for Crawley Town) convincingly won gold in the 12.5m line throw when beating their German rivals from the Gelsenkirchen-Buer club by over two seconds.
Crawley Town’s Youth Ladies team featuring Jessica Hancock, Keira Narraway, Emily Hurst and Georgia Blenkley, made all three relay finals finishing 6th in the 4x25m Manikin Carry, 7th in the 4x50m Medley and 8th in the 4x50m Obstacle relay. Georgia also made the 12.5m line throw final with partner Emily, and Jessica finished 8th in her Individual Rescue Medley event.
Going into the Championships, Crawley Town was ranked third top Open club in Europe. However, its inability to field any Open Men’s relay teams meant their ranking has dropped to 6th best Open Pool team and 23rd Open Beach team, so dropping their overall ranking to 11th best club in a field of 33 other European teams. In the Youth Championships, Crawley Town could only field a Ladies Pool team, which gained a 15th ranking for the Pool and 20th overall, out of 30 competing teams.
Finally, Crawley Ladies Masters team of Donna Wickens, Maureen Fakley, Jennie Amos and Janet Dell, had a ball in the pool when being the oldest combined-aged Ladies team they brought home two silvers in the 4x25m Manikin and 4x50m Medley relays. Individually, Donna had the most success by winning a gold, three silvers and a bronze, followed by Janet with a gold and three silvers, with Jennie a gold and two silvers, and Maureen two silvers.
The 2019 European Lifesaving Championships was the warm-up for next year’s World Championships ”Rescue 2020” which is to be held at the same venue at around the same time, so if you are interested in attending please come and join the team at K2 on a Tuesday evening from 8.00pm to 10.00. Finally Crawley Town would like to thank Everyone Active at the K2 Sports Centre for their continue support and encouragement of Lifesaving Sport through Crawley Towns international competitors.
CTLSC Competition Manager