Kane Sefton was so sick with glandular fever over the summer he was unable to train until a few weeks before the National Surf Life Saving Championships.
Sefton trains six days a week. He is up at the crack of dawn to swim. He pounds the pavements in Tauranga and spends his fair share of time in the gym and at the beach.
Despite a major change to his regimented routine Sefton still managed to win the Under-19 Ironman, Board Race and Surf Race titles at Ohope Beach. What’s more he was the top under-19 male athlete and the top athlete overall at Nationals. Sefton won three finals less than two hours apart!
“I did enough to get through the heats on Friday. On Saturday the semis were held and then the finals were on a Sunday. It was real rushed. The surf race was first then the board race and the ironman. I was stuffed by the end of it, but I didn’t really have time to think,” Sefton recalls.
The Ironman combines swimming, board paddling, ski paddling and beach running, all the disciplines of the sport.
“It was awesome to do so well. I guess my base fitness is pretty good so that allowed me to hang in,” Sefton says.
Surf living saving runs deep in Sefton’s family. He has won more than a dozen National titles and has a part-time job as a lifeguard. His father won many interclub titles and his sister was briefly a competitor.
Sefton intends to be a competitor for a long time. He dreams of competing in the professional Kellogg Nutri Grain Ironman series in Australia, but in September he will represent New Zealand at the Lifesaving World Championships in the Netherlands.
The New Zealand team, known as the Junior Black Fins, consists of 12 athletes; six male and six female. The Lifesaving World Championships are held every two years and attract competitors from over 40 nations.
The Youth team component was added to the Life Saving World Championships by the International Life Saving Federation in 2012. The format is the same as the Open national teams’ event. They will compete over four days of competition; two days of pool events and two days of beach and ocean events.
Sefton has had to raise nearly $10,000 to compete, but can’t wait for the challenge.
“It’s real tough to raise money, but I am grateful for all the support I get. Local business have been fantastic as are my parents and friends,” Sefton concludes.
New Zealand Life Saving Team
Alaynah Bettany – Lyall Bay
Grace Kaihau – Orewa
Hannah Williams – Piha
Jamie Gedye – Waikanae
Libby Bradley – Mt Maunganui
Olivia Corrin – Midway
Hamish Miller – Mt Maunganui
Lewis Clareburt – Lyall Bay
Javon McCallum – Fitzroy
Kane Sefton – Mt Maunganui
Seb Johnson – Sumner
Zac Reid – Fitzroy
Coach: Jonelle Quane
Assistant Coach: Matt Sutton
Manager: Ange Johnston
Physiotherapist: Mike Ellis
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand