Ipswich quartet adds to tradition
THIRTY-ONE years ago, four swimmers from the Railways Swimming Club in Ipswich were invited to join the Tugun Surf Life Saving Club on the Gold Coast to represent Tugun as active patrolling members and competitors.
Almost to the day – 31 years later at the weekend – four more Ipswich lads obtained their bronze medallions with the Southport Surf Life Saving Club.
The Ipswich crew will undertake patrols and represent the club in boat rowing in the upcoming season.
It’s not new to have youths from Ipswich join surf clubs on the Gold Coast. Many years ago, surf clubs relied on provincial towns to provide lifesaving talent.
However, in the latest success, one of those original Ipswich boys Mike Chep is now coaching and mentoring the new Southport junior boat crew.
“Times have changed and technology has improved the way we do things but the spirit of surf lifesaving has not changed,” said Chep, the Queensland human resources director.
To be known as “Southport Swich” – a hybrid name recognising their Ipswich heritage – the Southport junior boat crew is made up of Cam Beasley, Matthew Cussey, Rhys Bennett and Trent Beasley.
The team will compete in local carnivals as well as the branch, state and the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
“Their training regimes have been tough, particularly the rigorous requirements involved with getting their surf bronze medallion,” Chep said.
“But their tenacity and spirit is what got them through and will make them a competitive unit for many years to come.
“All four boys have been mates for a long time and all went to St Edmunds.
“Two currently play football at Ipswich Brothers Rugby League Club and the other two are highly accomplished hockey players for Ipswich and Queensland.
“Not only have they become highly competitive in surf boat rowing, but their ability to cross-train in other areas, such as board paddling, ski paddling and swimming, have made them a valuable commodity for the club.”
Club legend Mark Bennetts, who won many state and Australian titles for Southport, is happy to support the new members and assist them hone their skills across many of the surf life saving disciplines that he mastered for the past 30 years.
The team’s task over the Christmas-new year period is to patrol the beach at Southport, where many Brisbane and Ipswich residents visit .
“This is a great achievement for four local Ipswich boys who, themselves, will become great club members and mentors for other junior members,” Chep said yesterday.