April 13, 2018

Erica Hayes completing her 14.25m pass in the Under 10 girls slalom event at the National Titles.

Laura Hayes in action during the tricks event at the National Titles.

Deniliquin water skier Erica Hayes won back-to-back National Titles at the 2018 Lowes Petroleum National Tournament held at Goondiwindi in Queensland.

Competing in the Under 10 division Erica placed first in two events to hand her the overall title for a second year in a row.

In round one of her slalom event Erica recorded a new personal best of one buoy at 13m travelling at 49km/h and in doing so set a new pending Australian record.

In round two she scored one buoy at 14.25m travelling at 49km/h.

Erica’s father Glenn said they have to wait until the end of April to get confirmation that the record will stand.

‘‘We need confirmation that the boat path is within tolerance to ratify the record which is a requirement for all Australian records,’’ he said.

‘‘Erica had equalled the existing record of four at 14.25m travelling at 49km/h twice and broke it once with five buoys at the same distance and speed during the summer prior to Nationals, but boat reviews and technical issues resulted in all three records not being acknowledged.

‘‘For her to stand up and deliver a performance like that at Nationals was really special given all that had happened in relation to her three records not being endorsed prior.’’

In the trick sector Erica scored 1940 points in round one and 2160 in round two, just short of her personal best of 2280, a 740 points improvement on her winning score at Nationals last year.

Erica’s younger sister Laura also had a tremendous showing, competing in the trick event in the same division, with both girls representing NSW.

Laura competed in her first Nationals event which saw her record her best two scores of the season with 700 and 690 points to receive the bronze medal.

Erica’s performances over the course of the season has gained her a spot in the Australian Junior Development Squad which will see her involved in high performance camps next summer.

Overall NSW finished second in the team point score behind a talented Queensland team for a second year in a row.

‘‘Both the girls have had a busy season which saw them compete in major competitions — the Australian Junior Masters in Mildura, the Australian Masters in Bridgewater and NSW/ACT State Titles in Albury,’’ Glenn said.

‘‘Erica won all of the slalom and trick titles at these events while Laura won the silver medal for overall at those titles, finishing second in trick at all three and competing in the slalom event at state to finish fourth.

‘‘They also spend the summer competing in the local NSW Malibu Series which sees them compete against people of their own abilities. This is the starting point for entry into the sport.

‘‘Both the girls had success in these tournaments which culminate in a presentation night at the NSW state titles.’’

For the series Laura was awarded first place in the 0-500 trick division.

Erica placed second in the 46km-52km slalom and 1000-2000 point trick divisions. She was also awarded the most improved awards in slalom and trick which is calculated from her previous year’s scores.

Erica was also presented her NSW State U/10 slalom record award for her five at 14.25m at 49km/h set at Mulwala which she has now broken again at Nationals.

‘‘The girls spend plenty of hours both on and off the water either training three to four days a week or going away to compete,’’ Glenn said.

‘‘They’ve had hundreds of falls on the trick skis while training but they don’t let that deter them, which builds perseverance.

‘‘They train over the winter in wetsuits and dry suits, and over the summer they ski before school when they can to get some quiet water as well.

‘‘We are very fortunate to have the river so close to train and to have the support of people like Frank and Lynda White at BIG4 Deniliquin behind them is such a great help.

‘‘The girls also train in Mulwala and travelled to Albury over the busy Christmas period to train with a number of their coaches and friends.’’

Next season Erica will compete in the U/14 division which sees her maximum slalom speed increase to 52km and will begin competing in the jump events as well while Laura has two more seasons in the U/10 division.

Fellow Deniliquin skier Lugaidh Jennings-Gallagher also competed for NSW for the first time in the U/14 Boys slalom event at Nationals.

Lugaidh recorded a score of four at 18.25m at 55km/h in round one and a new personal best of one at 14.25m at 55km/h in round two to see him finish 12th out of 26 skiers in what was one of the biggest and most competitive divisions at the tournament.

During the season he also competed in the Malibu Series and finished third in at the NSW State Titles.

Lugaidh goes up into the U/17 boys division next season which will require him to complete the slalom course at the maximum speed of 58km/h for men.

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