Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Six from Coast Make the National Ironman Semis

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Six from Coast Make the National Ironman Semis

Article excerpt

SURF LIFESAVING: The Sunshine Coast's leading ironman, Matt Poole, remains ultra-wary at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Perth.

The 25-year-old won a tense quarter-final in flat water yesterday to become one of six Sunshine Coast competitors to earn a spot in today's national ironman semi-finals.

He said he could ill afford to make any errors at the event.

"I was pretty happy to get through," he said.

"It's starting to get to the business end. The pace is really on and there is not much swell and not much to break up the pack, so the difference between first and eighth is super tight.

"I think some people sort of get a bit comfortable hanging around that middle of the pack, but they make one or two mistakes and that's the difference between making semi-finals and a final, so you've got to be on your game."

Poole is joined in the semi-finals by Mooloolaba clubmates Luke Cuff, Matt Bevilacqua and Hayden White.

Noosa Heads will be represented by Mackenzie Hynard and Alexandra Headland has Sam Bull.

But it is the Gold Coast's Shannon Eckstein who looms large. Northcliffe's five-time winner moved comfortably into the semi-finals, finishing fourth in his quarter-final.

His pursuit of a record-equalling sixth national ironman championship (to match Trevor Hendy) received an unexpected boost when he was drawn in the weaker of today's two semi-finals.

He has managed to avoid most of the other contenders for the title, increasing his chances of winning tomorrow afternoon's final and drawing level with his boyhood idol as the most successful ironman in the 100-year history of the Australian championships. …

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