She only took up her sport last season, but this November Wellington East Girls’ College’s Macy Burns joins the Junior Black Fins team for the 2018 Lifesaving World Youth Championships in Australia.
Macy, who represents Lyall Bay, New Zealand’s oldest surf lifesaving club, is the sole Wellington athlete in the 12-strong Junior Black Fins team who will compete in 43 pool and beach lifesaving events against over 40 countries over five days of competition in Adelaide. The Junior Black Fins will compete alongside the Black Fins team in the senior competition.
“I only started surf lifesaving about this time last year,” she says. “I started training about a month before the pool champs last year and it just kind of went well!
“I have been swimming my whole life and then I just got into surf lifesaving, it’s fun and I really enjoy it. None of my family has done it so I am the first one.”
The fact she also lives near Lyall Bay, the club she joined last summer and represents, is more coincidental.
In March Macy competed in her first New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships in Gisborne and won medals in the Women’s U19 Tube Rescue and Run-swim-run events.
She recently had a taste of international surf lifesaving competition with the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving High Performance team that finished second at the annual Sanyo Cup in Japan.
“That was first time representing a New Zealand team, so it was pretty exciting, “she says. “We weren’t far away from Australia either.”
With a strong background in swimming, Macy’s main events are related to that. “At the Junior World Champs I am not doing too many beach events, most of it is in the pool.”
Macy has been swimming competitively at a national and regional level since she was young, representing Wellington plenty of times at national swim meets. Her grandfather used to coach swimming.
She is the Wellington U15 Girls 100m backstroke record holder, setting her record time of 1.06.38 in year 9 in 2014.
Right now Macy is busy training in the pool with both the Capital Swim Club squad and with others such as Lyall Bay Club Captain Sam Lee and Libby Bradley, who is in the 2018 New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Open Squad and who won six U19 titles at the Nationals in March.
“That’s 10 sessions a week at the moment, if I go to all of them,” she says.
There’s a lot coming up before the World Junior Life Saving Championships in November. “We have got the regional [Central Surf lifesaving] pool champs at Naenae Pool in September, the Wellington club swimming champs, the New Zealand Secondary school swimming champs [in Wellington] and the National surf lifesaving pool nationals in October. So it’s a full-on period of competition coming up.”
As well as swimming and surf lifesaving, Macy used to play netball, underwater hockey, skiing and rowing. “I went to the Maadi Cup rowing regatta twice, but I stopped that because it was taking up too much of my time, it was hard to balance that my swimming.”
Macy, who is year 13 and in the same class at WEGC as Pulse netballer Tiana Metuarau, also has NCEA level 3 exams coming up in November whilst the surf lifesaving world champs are on. “I am quite lucky because the world champs only clashes with one of my exams and then my exam after that is quite spaced out and I have time to study for that.”
This coming summer Macy is looking forward to her second full season with the Lyall Bay Surf Club and then is likely to be going to Victoria University next year.