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Nippers put Riversdale on map

Two Wairarapa youngsters have put Riversdale on the map at one of the country’s largest youth surf lifesaving national championships.

Keoni Tiley and Alfie Beetham, representing the Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club’s Nippers crew, have recently competed in the National Oceans 24 Festival of Junior Lifesaving, held at Mount Maunganui from February 22 to 25.

Oceans 24 is the biggest competition for children and young people taking part in the Nippers programme. It teaches children aged five to 13 beach safety skills “while getting them exercising”.

Keoni [10] was selected for Oceans 24 after an impressive performance at the Central North Island championships at Fitzroy Beach in Taranaki – where he scored medals for all bar one of the events.

A spokesperson from Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club said that alongside Keoni, they also sent Alfie [12] – and both boys “did really well”, despite facing “a gruelling competition”.

“They did really well competing against over 700 people ranging from ages 10–13,” the spokesperson said.

“Alfie made it to the semi-final for the Board Race and Under 14 Board relay. He also made it to the quarter final for the Diamond event and competed well in the remaining events.

“Keoni made it to the final stages for the Under 12 Grand Cameron Relay straight final, Run-Swim-Run, Beach Flags, Under 12 Sprint Relay, final Diamond and the Beach Sprints.”

His placings were 18th, 14th, 8th, 8th, 7th and 6th, respectively, which, said the spokesperson, was impressive.

The spokesperson said the sea had strong currents – so much so that they had to move one of the swimming races from the original arena as the under 14s couldn’t make it through the course.

“The boys did extremely well to earn their medals for finishing the race.

“Alfie and Keoni put in so much effort over the four days – with 7am starts and tough back-to-back events showing great fitness and resilience.

“They also gained experience and, on a few occasions, had to deal with disappointment and tough decisions. They grew as sportsmen and made so many new friends.”

The spokesperson noted that Alfie and Keoni’s performance on the national stage was “a good highlight” for the Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club and the talent within.

“Now everyone knows where Riversdale is.”

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