The weather defeated the athletes

– WMLC 16 Beach Events during rough conditions

During the third day of competition in the World Military Lifesaving Championships 2016, in the end the weather conditions proved too tough - the competitors at the beach at Tylösand had to be stopped after some of the disciplines due to strong winds, high waves, currents and risk for thunder and lightning. However, just before it was stopped, those taking part produced fine performances in extremely trying conditions.

Cecilia Sjöholm, Sweden, on the way towards a bronze medal in the "Run, Swim Run" discipline, before the competition was forced to be stopped due to the weather conditions. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten
The Gold Medal winning team, from Sweden, in the discipline "Rescue Tube Relay". Photo: Lisa Nykvist /Försvarsmakten
The discipline "Run, Swim Run" starts with a double march along the beach. Photo: Carl M Sjöstrand /Försvarsmakten
After the double march the competitors swim out and around a buoy. Photo: Carl M Sjöstrand /Försvarsmakten
Humberto Perez Mauritz from Spain, forcing his way towards the finish and a silver medal in the "Run, Swim Run" discipline. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten

"This was as near to actual lifesaving than you can get" said Cecilia Sjöholm, a happy but tired gold and bronze medal winner from Sweden during Saturday's competition.  

I have never swum in tougher conditions actually. It was rough and we were dragged and thrown about by the wind and waves.

Humberto Perez Mauritz, a silver medal winner from Spain, has nothing against the waves. "The higher the waves; the better for me!"

“I am used to the wind and waves by the coast at home in Spain. Taking into consideration the conditions today I am pleased with my performance, but I wish I had had time to train more".


Safety First

The previous championships have been carried out in inshore lakes, and even if the conditions even there can be tough, the sea environment is really something to take on.

"We have seen some really great performances today", emphasises Jesper Lindberg the event organiser.

"It is the combination of wind, breaking waves, the current and the somewhat lower temperature of about 17 degrees C which means it is really something else.  The conditions also mean that the competitors have longer time in the water than is normal in each discipline. The competitor's safety comes first, and in the end the conditions became worse so we were forced to stop.”


Great Variation in The Disciplines

Those disciplines that were able to be completed on Saturday were "Rescue Tube Relay" for men and women, where they compete in four man teams, "Run, Swim Run" for men and women, individual, and "Board Rescue" for women where they compete in two man teams.  In the first discipline, the competitors swim out to a person in need in the water who is then towed in with the help of a rescue torpedo and carried over the finish line part way up the beach.  In the second discipline, the competitors first run a length of the beach and the swim out around a buoy before finally running another length of the beach, and in the final discipline, the competitors, with the help of a board, paddle out to a person in need who is then taken to the beach on the board.


Much Awaited Success for The Home Nation

The home nation Sweden's women were successful during Saturday's competitions bringing home the gold medal in the "Rescue Tube Relay", silver in the " Board Rescue" and an individual bronze medal in "Run, Swim Run" .

"At last", exclaims Maria Lundahl, who was in the gold medal winning team. "Our strength is that we have really trained for this and are used to the waves"

"I have waited for a Swedish team medal since I started competing in these championships in 2009", says a happy and relieved Cecilia Sjöholm. "We had a feeling that it was going to go well, but we knew it would be tough as China is usually very strong in the pool disciplines and Germany in the beach disciplines".

There are many hours of preparation behind the competitors’ performances during the championships.

"Now it feels that we have got the reward for all the hours we have spent in the cold water and waves during the summer", says Melina Westerberg, silver medal winner. "It was worth it".

During the third day of competition, 36 medals found their way to their rightful owners. Germany took 11 medals. Next came Sweden with 7 medals.