City has had another fantastic year at the Aussies, winning five gold medals. Alicia Marriott was the standout, winning gold in both the Open Ironwoman and Open Women's Surf Race, while the beachies also brought home a stack of medals.
With a total of five gold, four silver and four bronze medals, we have stayed up in the top echelon of clubs, finishing in eighth place overall - our fourth consecutive year in the top ten.
The medal tally was kicked off early in the week with a bronze won by the Under 17 Patrol team, in their first attempt on this event. The experience gained should also place us well for future championships, and for our Open team.
The first event of Thursday morning brought us our first gold of the championships, when Alison O'Toole won her fourth consecutive Women's 2km Beach Run. With the event now attracting the likes of noted marathon Ironwoman Hayley Bateup and some real interest from triathletes, perhaps working on the theory of "this girl from Perth keeps winning it, must be pretty easy", Alison still recorded a reasonably comfortable win.
Over the past fifteen years Leigh Buchan has been the most consistent medal-winning coach for both our club and Western Australia, and must now be one of the most successful coaches in Australia. This year his beach squad continued to aim for and hit higher marks, bringing home no less than seven medals.
Aide Hinkes won bronze in the beach flags for the second year running, while last year's Open Men's Beach Sprint champion Dean Scarff won the bronze medal this year. Nipper Gabrielle Murphy also showed that she is a talent for the future, placing second in the Under 15 sprint.
We also had teams in just about every relay final, and the girls won gold in both the Under 19 and Under 15 events. The Under 17 girls won silver in their race. The Open Men's team came storming home in their final and made it too close to call with the naked eye. The electronic timing gates were in postition, and recorded our team as placing second by the smallest possible margin - just one one-thousandth of a second!
The Under 23 March Past team clearly impressed the judges despite limited preparation time, and also claimed a silver medal.
The highlight of the carnival for City, though, was Alicia Marriott's efforts on Sunday. After several weeks of intensive media buildup had placed her in the spotlight and landed her with the sometimes difficult "favourite" tag in the Ironwoman, Alicia was clearly on a mission.
Alicia began her day by winning her first ever individual Gold medal, in the Open Women's Surf Race - an event never before won by a WA competitor. She looked set to repeat that result in the Board Race before what was probably her only mistake of the week - a slightly less-than-perfect dismount - left her with a bronze medal to go with last year's silver.
In a first for Surf Life Saving the excitement level on the beach peaked not with the Open Ironman final, but with the Ironwoman. Never before has a single competitor had such unanimous support from the crowd. We must assume I suppose that the mums and dads of the other competitors were supporting them, but it seemed that every other person on the beach - City members, West Australians, and every other neutral supporter - wanted Alicia to win.
The draw of board, ski, swim suited Alicia well and unlike last year's final where no-one ever really broke away from the pack, this time the field was well spread by the end of the first leg with Kurrawa's Hayley Bateup and Alicia leading the way. They stayed close together through the ski leg before Alicia's swimming superiority came through in the final stages of the race. She crossed the line well in front as WA's first ever Open Ironwoman champion, and was promptly mugged by sister Jacinta who had managed to leap the barricade from the crowd. In another highlight for City members Emma Wynne, competing for North Burleigh, came through for the bronze medal.
While the medallists will always received the bulk of the praise and attention, there were many other notable performances over the course of the championships. Although not quite winning medals, our swimmers, runners, R&R teams, champion lifesavers and first aid teams picked up a number of fourth, fifth and sixth places. A large number of others made finals or semi-finals and all club members should be proud of our results.