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A community-minded approach to surf life saving

The sporting demands, educational benefits and a community-minded approach to surf life saving make a perfect partnership between SLSA and Waverley students completing their Bronze Medallion last summer.

The program is an excellent fit for Waverley students.

Adam Wallington, Head of Geography and Bronze Medallion Conveynor

The 2018-19 summer season was an exciting time on Bondi Beach for a cohort of Waverley College boys. For the first time in the history of the College, a partnership was formed to allow Waverley students to complete their Bronze Medallion as a sporting commitment. This meant that throughout Term 4 2018, boys would undertake theory and practical training sessions in preparation for their Bronze exam. In Term 1 2019, as fully fledged Bondi SLSC members, students would do active patrols on Bondi Beach. The 2019 Bronze Medallion participants were Conor Evans, Dylan Davis, Daniel Davis, Darcy Bourke, Oliver Brownie, Daniel Lambert, Sebastian Watson, Gabriel Kidston, James Brenchley, Xavier Kelly, Oly Watt, Fergus Braham, Jack Fingleton, Nicholas Pineiro, Oliver Tasmett and Ethan Blesson. Jasper Catley in Year 11 used the opportunity to extend his surf life saving skills and complete his Trainer Certificate.

Many participants were initially caught off guard when it came to the fitness demands of the Bronze Medallion course. The 400m continuous swim within 13 minutes highlighted the need for additional pool fitness sessions throughout Term 4. Under the vigilant supervision of the Waverley Swim Coaches Nick Nezval and Dori Miller, once a week students made use of the College pool, swimming laps to improve their stamina and swim stroke. Thankfully the boys’ fitness levels lifted as the weeks progressed. A contributing factor, no doubt, was the additional surf run swim runs each Saturday morning.

There was a great sense of excitement when the course officially began. Students had great delight unpacking their Bronze kits. Armed with a bright pink vest and a surf life saving manual, their theory training began. The expert guidance of instructors Max Gonzalez, Alex Lincoln Dodgeson and Nicola Watkins proved invaluable as boys learnt about beach management, signals, resuscitation, types of rips and first aid techniques. Each Saturday the class met and put into practice the theory learnt during the week. This included board and tube rescues, water safety, and spinal lifts and carries. It wasn’t long before these skills were applied, with Daniel Davis performing his first board rescue in Week 2! Overall, it was fantastic watching the group’s confidence and skill set improve as the course progressed.

Active patrols on Bondi Beach throughout Term 1 2019 taught the cohort the benefits of teamwork, active involvement, leadership and cooperation. Demonstrating leadership and leading the charge were senior students  Oliver Tasmett, Dylan Davis and Daniel Lambert; training for competitions and competing in branch carnivals. Oliver competed in beach sprint events, Dylan in the board discipline and Daniel in board and swim.

The sporting demands, educational benefits and a community-minded approach to surf life saving make the program an excellent fit for Waverley students. The partnership with SLSA is one we wish to strengthen for years to come. Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge Brent Jackson (Bondi Education Officer) and the Waverley College Leadership Team for endorsing and designing the program. We look forward to increased involvement and active membership and more Waverley students patrolling Bondi Beach in 2020.