Reigning champion Australia has built an early six-point lead over perennial runner-up New Zealand after a convincing win in the opening event of the World Life Saving Championships in Adelaide.
The quartet of Shannon Eckstein, Andrew Bowden, Christina Ruiz and Pamela Hendry were too slick in the open simulated emergency response competition (SERC) to head off Norway, Canada and the fourth-placed Kiwis.
Team captain Eckstein, a three-time World Ironman champion and one of Australia's most decorated lifesavers, displayed why he will be inducted into the International Lifesaving Hall of Fame tonight as he expertly directed yesterday's mass rescue situation at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.
The Australians were the only team to reach every "patient" inside the two-minute time limit - a task which involved rescuers assessing and then rescuing patients in drowning situations in the pool, including two submerged manikins.
The 25 competing nations also had to assess an unconscious patient on the pool deck who had suffered an electric shock.
Eckstein said it was a great start for the Australians but they could not get complacent after dominating the New Zealand combination of Steven Kent, Steven Ferguson, Andrew McMillan and Kevin Morrison.
"It's not going to be easy, we know the Kiwis and the European nations are going to be tough but we're ready for the challenge," he said.
New Zealand was also fourth in the under-19 competition where Toby Harris, Sam Shergold, Chris Dawson and Laura Quilter also trailed their Australian counterparts.
The pool programme ends tomorrow and then the competition switches to the ocean and beach events at Glenelg.
Leading day 1 results:
Open Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC) - Australia (261.3 points) A Bowden S Eckstein P Hendry C Ruiz 1, Norway (246) R Ingebrigtsen M Johnsen S Nilsson R Palm 2, Canada (225.8)J Anderson G Findlay-Shirras N Giraldo W Walters 3, New Zealand (225.5) S Ferguson S Kent A McMillan K Morrison 4, Great Britain (224.5) S Henderson A Kane E Parker S Worne 5, France (206.8) J Despergers J Lalanne A Lux F Manciet 6.
Under-19 (SERC) - Australia K Bridge S Earp A Ellwood R King 1, Canada T Donnolly Z Lausten C Stoner D Sullivan 2, Japan M Kobayashi A Minagawa R Sakamoto M Takahashi 3, New Zealand T Harris S Shergold C Dawson B Quilter 4, Spain J Bas G Mateo I Morales J Verges 5, USA C Adkins I Bateman A Ford J Schulte 6.
- The Press
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