Ōrewa lifeguard George Wenman has been named in the New Zealand Junior Black Fins surf lifesaving team to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships in Italy later this year.
The team, comprising six females and six males, also includes the Ōrewa Club’s Gold Coast-based member Charlize Menefy.
The Junior Black Fins will compete in the Youth (U19) division in a variety of pool rescue, ocean and beach events.
Surf Lifesaving NZ youth campaign lead Zac Franich says previous NZ teams have set the bar high.
“We’re very excited to work with this group of talent to carry on the legacy that teams before have left,” he says.
“The 2020 World Championships were postponed due to Covid so the junior Black Fins will finally get the chance to wear the NZ black beanie for the first time.”
Wenman, 18, started in surf lifesaving when he was seven. He says making the NZ team is a dream come true.
“It’s been a lifelong ambition and feels a bit unreal to know I’m actually in the team,” he says. I gave up rugby and football about four years ago so I could focus on lifesaving.”
The former Ōrewa College student is training 14 times a week in the lead up, doing a combination of swimming, running and paddling. He will spend time on the Gold Coast next month at the last team camp before the world champs.
“I left school last year and set-up a car detailing business to help finance my sport. Being my own boss means I have the flexibility to put the time in to train.
“I love lifesaving, not just because it keeps you fit and healthy, but it also gives you the confidence that you can keep yourself and others safe in the water.”
The championships will be held in Riccione from September 21 to October 2.