Todd Russell claimed the under-17 ironman event on the weekend.
Todd Russell claimed the under-17 ironman event on the weekend. CHRIS ISON CI

Todd is under-17 ironman champion

SURF LIFESAVING: He didn’t train much, it wasn’t his strong event and he only competed because his mum booked the flights.

Yet he still came home smiling after the Ocean’s 38 surf lifesaving event in Coolangatta on December 5 with the under-17 ironman champion title under his belt.

Now that’s talent.

Meet 16-year-old Todd Russell. He is a swimmer by trade and preference and a surf lifesaver on the side.

Russell, who has competed in surf lifesaving since he was 12, said he was surprised with the win as he had done little training on the board in preparation for the carnival.

“That was my first carnival for this year and I am normally up there in the swim events, but in the ironman I don’t ever place,” he said.

But this year was a different story. When Russell hit the board leg at Coolangatta he “caught a good wave” then followed it through with a strong swim in the surf that pushed him into first place.

Coach Ted McLeod said Russell, who claimed the ironman event ahead of 65 other competitors, is an extremely strong swimmer and came off the board leg in sixth place before managing to swim himself into first.

“He has won a surf race before but never in ironman – this is the best he has ever gone,” McLeod said.

“He didn’t do enough board training as he could have, but he has always been a really strong swimmer and is going away for states for still water.”

Russell now moves away from the deep blue ocean and will dive into the pool for the state titles in Brisbane next week with his Rocky City Swimming Club team.

“This weekend I think I will go well because last weekend proved that I was more fit then I thought I was,” Russell said.

But Russell wasn’t the only young competitor who made waves of success at the Ocean’s 38 Carnival.

Rockhampton’s Miranda Bell, who has splashed across The Morning Bulletin’s pages many times for her state, national and international achievements, won the under-19 swim race and placed second in the open swim race.

Sam Bell, 15, pick up second place in the swim event in front of Todd Russell who placed third.

Matthew McLeod also pushed through in strong form in his ironman, swim and open taplan ski event.

The surfers now prepare for the South Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast, December 20.

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