Full Review: WA Masters Championships

WA Masters Championships, Monday 4 March 2024, Sorrento SLSC

Club standings: Albany SLSC 11th (93 points)

Team: Rachel Bresanello, Sally Moir, Lisa Symmans, Beth Hearle, Nick Walker, Jason Bresanello, Greg Pepall.

Team Management: sadly lacking.

Lowlight: The men’s board relay being knocked off by ex-Albany teammate Adam Cousins and his Scarboro cronies.  Adam, racing in his son’s wrist band to the complete surprise of the officials and mirth of his competitors (you do the math, this makes absolutely no sense to do in a Masters event!) – was seen lording his Gold medal around the beach long after the race was done…and an unacceptably long time after the race, according to some.  Still, the Albany boys were pretty happy to knock off the likes of Trigg Island, Sorrento and Secret Harbour for their vaunted piece of Silver neck flair.


Albany in the lady’s arena – period.  The fearsome vanguard composing Rachel, Sally, Beth and Lisa – aka The Awesome Foursome – struck again, with precision, delivering their all-powerful combination and fierce brand of competitiveness, professional, guile, skill and crazy strong fitness.  Unfortunately, this meant they didn’t even deliver a single ‘lowlight’ for the whole carnival and spent the whole day winning stuff and generally being a menace to the other clubs, not getting things wrong all the time like the boys.  In fact, despite racking up over 170+ years for the relays they were often forced to compete down an age category or two, STILL cleaning up the competition on most occasions.  Now Sally, Beth and Lisa reckon they’ve been competing together since the ‘good ole’ 130yr + days (which is in itself worthy of a medal), but in recent years the addition of newcomer ironwomen/ski demon/swim run gun/paddler extraordinaire Rachel Bresa, has expanded the reach of this unit to ‘scary’ capacity.  Now while new combo Rachel and Lisa admittedly have a little ways to go in the format known as board rescue, and the subtle art of ‘staying on top of the board, together’, lacking the many years of practice and smooth operations of the Beth and Sally show, all girls acquitted themselves all day long in the water arena with aplomb, perseverance, and only a small measure of modesty, bravo!

Greg Pepall “Wave of the Day” – early on in the first board paddling leg of the men’s Taplin relay, Greg found himself eating whitewater at the back of a particularly fierce field…needing to draw from his long years of experience, Greg kept his cool, kept in touch, and on turning the final can, lined up a slowly lumping line of water hidden deep in the onshore slush…pushing to his knee’s without a moment’s hesitation, promptly surfed Albany all the way to the beach and back into contention within the blink of an eye…now ‘Pepps has got a good dose of salt water running through his veins, more than most lifesavers, and the rest of the field could only shake their heads in admiration at the display of surf knowledge and skill, generally bemoaning their own miserly runs back to the soft sand of Sorrento beach… it seemed the little known ‘Middleton Bay Beasterly’, ‘grind out and runner home’ training kicked in for all three Albany lads, and a hard fought Bronze was claimed on the line.  This in an extremely tough field filled with the finest race board tragics the metro and regions could offer up, with Scarboro wisely deciding not to the enter on this occasion…

Greg “Age is No Barrier” Pepall – unbelievably, Greg had even more tricks hidden up his sleeve, as rushing over from his wildly successful board relay, ‘Pepps arrived dripping at the general hub of confusion known as the ‘Flags tent’, only to see his age group in progress and already whittled down to the final three sand jumpers…disappointed, but knowing well that anything is possible at ‘Masters, Greg again did not panic, asking around and soon welcomed enthusiastically into the massing crowd of the younger lads category competition…a legal move but one that quickly turned against them…Greg making most of the boys eat their words by crouching, spinning, baton-diving and generally whirring with great speed into an easy third and claiming yet more championship points for the now hungry Albany club, crowing himself in glory, again.

Excessive medal haul in both men’s and ladies’ arenas… ironman’s, surf races, surf relays, surf ski, long runs, the works – check the full results…

Crowd Votes go to: Nick Walker and his thrilling sprint to the ‘finish’ line off the ski in the Taplin relay…crowd goes wild…is it…could it be…Silver for Albany?!…no, wait, not yet…the crowd begins gesturing wildly at the forlorn, forgotten figure of Albany ironman Jason ‘Bresa’ Bresanello crouched ready to spring at the starting line of the final swim leg…Now we see you buddy!  Nick, execute a sharp U-turn, quickly confirming no DQ applies, fight through the contraflow of oncoming competitors, finally tap Bresa into the water.  Talk about a ‘senior’s’ moment.  The boys miraculously come away with Bronze… Nick celebrating rather quietly it must be said, stationed a few cautious paces off from the Bresa, though his mood brightening somewhat after hearing that no less than 3 other old boys had done the same thing!  Same blunder! The impertinence of the crowd in talking these tired competitors over the finish line before the race is done is just beyond reproach, and no doubt the subject of further investigation by appropriate SLS authorities.  Could have happened to anyone.

Full Results

All results by age & gender categories.

2km Run2ndJason Bresanello
2ndRachel Bresanello
Flags3rdGreg Pepall
Board Rescue3rdLisa Symmans & Rachel Bresanello
1stSally Moir & Beth Hearle
Board Race2ndJason Bresanello
6thNick Walker
1stSally Moir
1stLisa Symmans
4thBeth Hearle
Board Relay 130+yr2ndJason Bresanello, Nick Walker & Greg Pepall
Board Relay 170+yr1stLisa Symmans, Sally Moir & Beth Hearle
Single Ski2ndNick Walker
4thJason Bresanello
5thRachel Bresanello
Ski Relay2ndNick Walker, Jason Bresanello
Surf Relay 170+yr1stLisa Symmans, Sally Moir & Beth Hearle
Ironman2ndJason Bresanello
Surf Race2ndJason Bresanello
1stLisa Symmans
1stSally Moir
6thRachel Bresanello
Taplin Relay3rdGreg Pepall (Board), Nick Walker (Ski), Jason Bresanello (Swim)
3rdSally Moir (Board), Rachel Bresanello (Ski), Beth Hearle (Swim)
Scarboro, 130yr + Board Relay Champions.  Next year we take their gold, and the smiles off their face.  Adam C pictured centre, ill-fitting cap
Greg Pepall enjoyed another good day out on the beach, collecting third place in the flags
It was a big day on the water for the ski paddlers, Albany seen here collecting medals for the relay, Greg Pepall making a welcome return to form (pictured centre), and at least one of his teammates still working hard on his best beach pose, maybe not quite getting there
Albany dwelling on what might have been, 130+ men’s Taplin Relay…
Yo yo yo… the girls in the middle of their beach rap, a new routine started up before marshalling for each event, and a real crowd pleaser
The awesome foursome – national champs, unanimously feared and respected by clubs great and small
The Amazing Mr Pepall