Joel returns with surf?s silver medal
EARLY morning rises have paid off for Rockhampton's Joel Russell ? big time.
Russell, 15, has returned home from last month's national surf lifesaving titles at Kurrawa after winning a silver medal with the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club in the under-17 men's surf teams relay.
Competing for the southern powerhouse, Russell produced a top-10 finish in the teams race which was won by North Bur- leigh and attracted more than 60 starters.
"I was stoked,'' Russell said of his first national medal.
It has been a whirlwind ride for the promising long distance swimmer, who has not had a break from training and competition for over 10 months.
This schedule has included at least six swimming sessions and four surf sessions a week.
Still in training mode, Russell said he was looking forward to a well-earned "sleep-in'' starting from next week.
"I'll do nothing for two weeks and then come back to two sessions a week,'' said the dedicated young sportsman, who hits the pool at 5am each morning.
Russell, who plans to return to competition at this year's Queensland short course swimming championships in Brisbane in August, said his improved surf skills and teamwork helped him ride a wave of success this season.
Russell is already looking to go one better at next year's nationals in Perth.