Olympian takes the helm of Kiwi surf lifesaving team for world champs
The Black Fins national surf lifesaving team is just weeks from defending a three-tournament winning streak at the Lifesaving World Championships (LWC) in Adelaide next month, and have announced they are excited to have Olympian Steven Kent as team captain at the head of the charge.
Kent is an experienced international competitor and brings that wealth of knowledge to the Black Fins in their quest for the world title. This is his sixth LWC competition with the Black Fins, and for the last two he was vice-captain. He has also represented New Zealand at the 2012 Olympic Games and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The 12-strong Kiwi Black Fins team boasts talent in spades and includes six other members who competed with Kent in the last three successful World Champs assaults - a solid block of experience.
Alongside the more seasoned competitors many of the newest members already have their own collections of previous accolades from other competitions, and they have plunged right into a serious training regime alongside their senior teammates.
Kent has previously said being chosen to lead the team is a great honour, and he hopes to emulate team members who passed on their knowledge and wisdom to him when he first joined the Black Fins team for the 2008 World Champs.
“We had lots of older guys to help me, and for me now to pass on that same knowledge is pretty exciting.
“I want to [be] a positive person... to help as much as I can. Making sure I can give as much information and experience as I’ve had and pass that on to the team. Showing them and leading them in a way so I can pass on our legacy... it’s pretty exciting.”
Black Fins coach Jason Pocock said Kent had been a passionate promoter of surf lifesaving, and he was confident his leadership would benefit the team.
“Steve will go down as one of the greatest surf athletes New Zealand has ever had, not just because of his feats in the pool and on the beach, but because of who he is as a person.
“He is a motivator to all of those around him because of his straight talking and his words which show absolute belief in what others can achieve.”
Kent’s success as an athlete over such a long career is thanks to his dedication and focus, he said.
“He takes a professional approach to all areas of his life - not only his training and recovery, but his desire to continue to be better as a person, and his unwavering belief that he is not the finished product, even now after multiple world records and world titles.”
This year the biennial games will be held at Glenelg Beach in Adelaide from November 16 to December 2. They are expected to be the biggest yet, with more than 6,000 of the world’s best life savers representing more than 40 countries.
The team are taking nothing for granted and have been working hard to prepare, with rigorous training regimes, including training camps starting in Rotorua in August. Kent has also been helping the other New Zealand teams, including the national Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) team by giving them advice on how best to tackle events on the world stage.
Steven Kent Facts:
This will be Kent’s 6th World Life Saving Championships.
Kent competed in swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
SLSNZ club: Titahi Bay, Wellington
Photo - The first shows Steve Kent after winning a gold medal at the recent SLSNZ Pool Rescue Championships in Auckland.