FEELING GOOD: Daniel Collins competing at Avoca yesterday. Picture: Steven Chu
SCHOOLBOY surf star Daniel Collins is excited and honoured to be part of Redhead’s top taplin relay team for the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Umina and Ocean beaches this weekend.
Collins will start hot favourite to win the under-17 surf swim and ironman titles after finishing second in both in his first attempt at the age division last year.
But the 17-year-old will also be one of two swimmers in Redhead’s A team for the blue ribbon club event of the three-day titles.
Collins edged out reigning under-19 Australian surf swim champion Isak Costello at the Hunter branch titles last month to earn the swimming place alongside Ethan Whiteman on Redhead’s crack six-man taplin team.
He will join the likes of reigning Australian board paddling champion Stewart McLachlan and former Olympic paddler Peter Scott in the line-up.
‘‘It’s a very strong team, so it’s a bit of an honour to be in the open taplin team,’’ Collins said.
‘‘I’m really happy with how it’s going at the moment. I’m taking seconds off in the pool and felling pretty good. It’s all starting to come together.
‘‘It will be a big race up against the open men but I’m looking forward to it.
‘‘To have the Australian board champion and a former Olympian in the team, I’m in good company. There’s no weak links in the team.’’
Two weeks ago, Collins swam a 36-second personal best in the 1500 metres at the NSW Country swimming titles to come second with a time of 16 minutes and four seconds.
The time qualified Collins for the national age swimming titles in April in Sydney, a week after the surf life saving championships in Perth.
Although keen to keep improving in the pool and in the surf, Collins said his sights remained on rough-water competition.
Collins started his state titles campaign on Fridaywith second in the under-19 rescue tube rescue with Jacob Cerniauskas, Costello and Matthew Turner and fourth in the rescue tube race.
Catherine Hill Bay’s Rhianna Kevill and Lily Costello were the Hunter stars yesterday, winning the under-15 female board rescue final.
Also on Friday, Swansea Belmont’s Sally Walters won the under-15 female rescue tube and clubmates Justin McMorland and Shaun Osborn took out the under-17 male board rescue.