Eleven years ago, Newport Surf Live Saving Club took just four competitors to the Australian Championships and finished a distant 48th on the overall pointscore.
Fast forward to last weekend and they had 100 athletes on the Sunshine Coast and came in second behind perennial powerhouse Northcliffe.
Newport won 12 gold, 17 silver and 15 bronze medals, with Mitch Morris the stand-out after picking up four golds and a silver to be named male competitor-of-the-carnival in his first year in the under-17s.
Their incredible success story is borne out of hard work, passion and a dedicated body of coaches, volunteers and competitors. Six-day training weeks, a team-first mentality and some old school tuition just adds to the mix.
"It's all about creating a positive environment built around family and culture," coaching director James Brooks said. "We try to help them outside the sport as well, either with a university degree or a trade. We don't want fulltime athletes sitting around - we want to set them up for the rest of their lives."
Eight years ago, Newport lured Trent Herring north to build on the success kick-started by fellow coaches Luke Morrison, Nick Carroll andBrooks. Herring has Manly Life Saving Club in his DNA, spending his childhood and much of his adult life in the sky blue cap.
"I learnt from some great people at Manly and I still use a lot of those old school ways, although I've mellowed a bit," Herring told us. "It's a collective effort at Newport. It's a fantastic coaching team and the athletes put in the hard work."
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