Mysterious ways: Bennett wins two medals at State Championships

Mystery Bennett with her proud dad Justin. Bennett won a gold and silver medal at the recent NSW State Surf Lifesaving Championships in Swansea.
Mystery Bennett with her proud dad Justin. Bennett won a gold and silver medal at the recent NSW State Surf Lifesaving Championships in Swansea.

Mystery Bennett is Narooma's newest Surf Lifesaving superstar after winning the under 12s beach flags competition at the recent State Championships in Swansea, and she did it in a borrowed vest.

Bennett, who also finished second in the beach sprints, and her dad, Justin, realised they'd forgot her State Championships vest when they arrived in Newcastle.

"We had a vest, but we just had our local vest," Mr Bennett said. "You had to have a State Championships pink vest on to compete."

They quickly found a young competitors, who didn't hesitate in lending Mystery his vest. The story quickly found its way to the Far South Coast Branch Facebook page, but Mr Bennett said the retelling was slightly inaccurate.

"Not for one stage did I say 'you'll have it back in a second, she's gonna get knocked out straight away'," he said. "I might have said something like 'you'll get it back straight away', but I knew she'd do well.

"She hadn't done anything like this since under 8s, but she's a really good runner, and I was confident she'd be in the top five."

Mr Bennett said the beach flags were the most stressful event on the weekend.

"There were more than 100 competitors on the day, and it was really tense," he said. "Last year's state title winner was there, and there were girls she's run against at state for school before, so she really had to dig deep.

"She kept coming over and saying 'one more to get in the medals dad', and I said 'don't worry about that, just keep going'.

"Then she got in the medals, and her face just lit up with a big smile. I had to tell her to keep focused for the final.

"During the final, Mystery got there first, but she missed the flag. They both came up with the flag, so they needed a rerun.

"She won that one, and it was great."

Mystery is the latest from the Bennett family to find success in Surf Lifesaving.

"All my kids have been members down at Narooma Surf Club, and they've all done well," Mr Bennett said. "My son Jack won a silver medal at state, my daughter Lily-Rose has won multiple medals, and now Mystery's done it as well.

"I won the State and Australian championships four years ago, and I finished second in a couple of events at the World Championships in France."

Despite having multiple successful children, Mr Bennett said he's more than willing to do what's needed to help them.

"The kids all love their sport, and I'd do anything to get them where they need to go," he said. "I live for this stuff, and I couldn't be more proud of Mystery and what she has achieved.

"I try not to miss too much where their sport is involved, and this was another fantastic moment to be at."

Fellow Narooma Surf Club member Elli Beecham also competed at the event in the under 15s beach flags and beach sprints, but didn't place in either event.

Narooma's Elli Beecham competed in the under 15s beach sprints and beach flags.

Narooma's Elli Beecham competed in the under 15s beach sprints and beach flags.