Rescue 2016 – Thank you Noordwijk
By Jock Campbell
Well, what an amazing carnival. Rescue 2016 aka The Surf Lifesaving World titles has been the greatest single major carnival my athletes have ever had. Our Club Wanda won 7 Gold, 6 Silver and 4 Bronze medals out of those our Jock Athletic athletes won 6 Gold, 5 Silver and two bronze, pretty special that.
It’s been a long 3 weeks of pre competition and comp, and the last 4 days I have run on pure adrenalin. As a coach, you always try and get into pre camp before any of your athletes arrive and stay until the competition is complete, and Nordwijk was no exception. I am physically and mentally cooked from preparing for my own race and spending massive days on the beach for all my athletes over this period. I wouldn’t have it any other way and in life you don’t get what you want, you get what you deserve, and that’s what our athletes got.
For a commitment this big I have to thanks my wife Melissa Campbell, who just also happened to win 3 Gold Medals herself, for letting me commit to this and my kids for hanging in there while we focused on everyone else. Thanks to Ali and Jesse for helping out with the kids as well.
In the carnival that kept on giving, there were so many great stories, I shall try and do justice to them all. The carnival started with the masters, then the major open competitors followed by our huge youth team of 1 competitor, but what a competitor Chloe Gentle is, see below:
Masters – we brought over 7 beach competitors and every single one came back with a medal. Individual Gold to the Campbell’s Mel and I in the 2km Beach run, Mel winning well, and Jock having to work very hard. Our Beach relay team of Greer Mallet, Lauren Campbell (now officially the best runner in her house, with Husband Zane Campbell on child minding duties) and Mel Campbell taking out the youngest age sprint relay, making a nice round 3 gold’s. Silver went to Greer Mallet in both the sprint where she dominated the early rounds and had a very close finish to a girl from the Egyptian Open National Team, and then a late inclusion in the flags where she also wound back the years to come 2nd. Silver also went to Lauren Campbell in a solid sprint performance and to Donna Cox in the Beach 2km and Meggsey Brannock who put on a great performance in the Flags. Meggsey also ran well to get a bronze in the beach sprint and then combined with Dee McCarthy and Donna Cox to get a bronze in the age group up from our gold medalists. Our masters are some of the most committed athletes you will find, right through from the food they eat, down to injury rehab, body maintenance and a massive commitment to racing and training and deserved all the results they achieved. They are great role models for the younger club members and prove with kids, businesses, being older, there is no excuse for missing training, and actually there should never be any excuses - period!
A special mention goes to Meggsey Brannock‘s husband Tait, who as part of the Wanda team won 4 medals including a Gold in the 2km run, but we can’t claim any help in that one. Also to Dee McCarthy coming 4th in her first world titles in the 2km run and local runner Davina Straus who dominated her age division, and worked really well to help out our flaggers and her training partners in the flags.
Open age group – the main carnival started a few days after the masters and then the fun continued. The carnival started off brilliantly with Mel Campbell, at age 40 and in the shape of her life, led from start to finish in her race, and turned a 10m lead into 30 in the last 500m of the race to take out a great Gold in the Women’s 2km Beach Run. Ali Najem’s race started not long after Mel’s finished, and despite a rocky build up in the last few months we still had very high hopes. In the race of the carnival after 600m it was a two horse race with Ali and the eventual winner dropping the current two-time world champ early in the race. Ali ran a great race, dropping his opponent a couple of times with well planned surges, but unable to match the sprint home in the last 120m. A great race, just sometimes you get beaten by someone who is better on the day. In the same race our Mitch Palmer ran a great 5th and Johnny Woods came home in 11th. Then it was over to the sprinters, or lets call it sprinter, Jesse Thus in his first year of Surf
Lifesaving Sport finished 12th in the sprint after coming 4th in the B final and then running better as he went, started the relay tam in the final with a blistering leg which put us in front and then the rest of the team blew it away to claim a great win.
Youth – the youth division is for athletes 18 and younger and we had one brave soul in the end that committed to this journey at 14 years of age. Her event was the last race for our athletes and the runner I had most confidence in winning. I say brave because it’s a big effort to go all the way to Holland for a 6-8minute race to take on year twelve and older kids whose ability you have no idea about. Then take that risk that you might get a belting and commit to all the cold weather training sessions through our winter to ensure you’re in the best shape possible to do yourself justice. Well Chloe Gentle, who beats most adults in surf life saving, didn’t disappoint and at the half way point of the race had decimated the field, and despite another bloody nose with 500m to go from pushing hard through the race she was able to power home and win well. By the time Chloe’s race was run and won, we had one athlete here with two coaches Jock and Mel, her training partners Ali, Luca, Tara and Tom, her head of finance and digital media Wayne gentle, head of logistics, nutrition and transportation Jenny Buckley, chief rules advisor, Club Patron Solly Stephens and her fan club of Cori and Roy Campbell, and the young girl did not let us down.
10 years ago when we started Jock Athletic we took a small team down to Rescue 06 and Dee Cooper won the 2km and our relay team headed by our star at the time and current coach Zane Campbell took out silver, and that was a great carnival. I think this one has surpassed that. Thanks for the message from Dee to the current runners and from Steve Waugh to our athletes, both your words gave us all a real kick. And in a twist of irony, Mel and my original business partner and great mate Watto turned up to watch the events, which was also a great boost to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.
Final thank you goes to our long term and very loyal sponsors who are also great friends of ours and keep believing in us, in particular the Crust Cronulla boys Andrew and George who helped me convince Ali to come to worlds in the first place. Jaimie Fuller, the chairman of Skins who helped me start this business and has been with us ever since, Chanh Le Huy from Adidas Eyewear and Tony Hindle at T-bone media who has turned us from novices in the digital media space to beginners and keeps on dragging us upwards.
We are so thankful and proud that you are with us. Our staff cannot be thanked enough too, to our coaches who have been a massive part of this success, Rory, Zane and Mel we have achieved this together. Rory and I have been planning for us to be away for a year and a half, and he and Mel O’Donoghue have made being away from the business in Never Never land, or is that the Netherlands very smooth and worry free. Thanks you to you both for making our lives easier.
And finally thank you Netherlands! You have been great to Jock Athletic and our great surf Club The Wanda “Big Dogs”