By Oliver Lees
Two Romsey Fire Brigade volunteers have starred at the 2021 Victorian Police and Emergency Services Games (VPESG), taking out 13 medals between them.
Lachlan Jones and Kyle Cozens competed in several swimming categories at the event held at Kardinia Park in March.
VPESG is held annually as a means of bringing community service workers together from across the country with more than 40 different sporting events held during four days.
The games included participants from Ambulance Victoria, Royal Flying Doctors Service, Life Saving Victoria and the Australian Federal Police, among others.
Jones walked away with seven gold medals and set seven individual records in the process, including the 50 metre butterfly, which he finished more than six seconds faster than the previous record-holder.
Cozens also had a successful time in the pool, with six medals of his own.
He said it was nice to compete in a more social context.
“It was my first time competing at VPESG and it was really good,” he said.
“It’s different to most swimming events I’ve competed in before, it was very relaxed and social.
“It’s nice to get in the pool and just have some fun.”
Jones said it was a good opportunity to meet other emergency service workers.
“It was nice to be back in the water,” he said.
“It wasn’t about beating new records but more having a chat with new people from around the state.”
Jones and Cozens first became acquainted through swimming at the Gisborne Thunder Swimming Club.
Both volunteer firefighters have been swimming since they were children.
Jones has competed at state level for the past ten years.
Cozens said it was Jones who first coaxed him into joining the CFA in 2012.
“He was trying to talk me into it for a few years so I thought I’d give it a go,” he said.
“I love doing it, now I’m being trained in community safety.”
Jones said he signed up for the Romsey Fire Brigade as soon as he turned 16, as both of his parents were already members.
“I had been hanging around the CFA for many years, it was something I was always going to do,” he said.
“To be honest, I don’t always enjoy getting on the truck and going out to a fire because if we’re getting called out it’s because something has gone wrong.
“But by doing it, I know it’s helping the community.”
The next iteration of the VPESG will be held in New Zealand next year.
Cozens said he’d love to compete.
“I’d love to go, as long as the borders are open, I think we’ll both be there.”