The Australian Youth Life Saving Team (AYLT) has taken the first step on the road to redemption in reclaiming the Youth National Team Title at Life Saving World Championships (LWC) 2020 with the naming of a 32-strong squad today.
The AYLT squad will be headlined by swimming sensation TJ Chong-Sue (Fremantle/Royal Life Saving WA) who claimed three Australian Records at January’s Pool Life Saving Championships en route to claiming the Overall Male Lifesaver Title for the meet. TJ will be joined in the pool by LWC2018 Youth World Champions in Samuel Short (Maroochydore) and Kaylah Holmes (Umina/The Hills) along with Illawarra based pair in Holly Holmesby & Zara Sharman (Bulli/Engadine RLS).
Once again, the Sunshine Coast has featured heavily amongst surf athletes and standout pair Adam Palmer (Maroochydore) and Emma Woods (Alexandra Headland) have continued to make big impressions this past season culminating with dominant Aussies 2019 campaigns. Woods picked up seven medals including 3 team gold alongside Tayla Halliday, who also featured heavily for the Sunshine Coast club.
Palmer, who won U17 board and ski events at Aussies 2019 and finished second in the U17 Ironman will be joined by Maroochydore teammates Joseph McMenamin (gold U17 Ironman), Zachary Tabuai (gold U17 Surf Race) and Phoebe Wills-Grace (gold U17 Ski) who all picked up individual gold of their own.
Alongside Palmer, gaining plenty of experience from last years’ KNG Ironman Series is Zach Morris (Newport) who claimed the Youth Ironman World Champion title along with a clean sweep of U17 individual events at 2019 NSW State Titles.
Sam Zustovich (Mollymook) leads the way on the sand taking gold in both U17 flag and sprint events at Aussies along with a second place in the Open Male Flags.
Australian Youth Life Saving Team Head Coach for the LWC2020 Campaign, Craig Holden expressed his excitement at the depth across the squad. “We have an amazing array of young talent here in Australia and it is always extremely difficult in determining our squads. We are extremely confident in the young athletes we have selected across all disciplines and really excited to see how they develop over the next year or so heading toward LWC2020 in Italy.” Holden Said.
“Looking across all the athletes who nominated and our selected squad there is definitely the potential there to help us win back the LWC2020 Youth National Teams World Title from New Zealand. There is every chance that those who are not currently in the squad to force their way into reckoning for a berth at LWC2020 through their performances through the remainder of the coming pool rescue season and the 2019/20 surf season also.”
The Australian Youth Life Saving Team will be sending a team of 12 athletes to compete at International Surf Rescue Challenge 2019 as the pinnacle international event this calendar year for youth athletes. This will be held in Durban, South Africa with a team announcement made over the coming weeks.
Australian Youth Life Saving Team – Squad Members
Team Coaches & Management:
Head Coach – Craig Holden
Assistant Coach – Sam Dick
Team Manager – Melinda Jackson