It was the story that had the entire beach buzzing at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships on Sunday.
Four girls, all from the same club, all born on the same day, competed in the under-17s flags final at the Aussies at Coolangatta.
Triplets Alex, Leah and Emily Rampoldi were joined by North Cronulla clubmate Ashleigh McDonald in the final, with Alex holding off Leah in the race off for the gold medal.
All four share the same birthday, April 27, 2001, and all lined up in the under-17 final on Sunday morning. Ashleigh finished seventh with Emily sixth.
Rather than celebrate the amazing feat, Alex then headed for the open competition and three hours later won her second gold medal of the day after beating Kurrawa’s Bree Masters in the run-off for gold.
It was an extraordinary day for Alex who emerged as the new force of flags racing.
The shy 15-year-old made history twice on the same day – firstly racing with her triplet sisters on the way to winning the under-17s championship before upstaging more experienced rivals to become the youngest winner of the open title.
“I just can’t believe it,” Alex said.
“My goal today was to beat Jaz [Jazmine Yew] from Thirroul in the under-17s and I wasn’t really thinking about opens.
“It’s very special. This is my first year in opens and I’m very happy with my results.”
A year after flags legend Melissa Cracroft-Wilson departed the Aussies scene after winning 10 titles, the open women’s final was there to be won in what looked to be an even final that featured a wide range of ages and experience with three under-17s competitors and two others who had contested the Masters competition earlier in the week.
Rampoldi, however, seemed to get stronger with each race, and was eventually able to gain a step ahead of the Masters in the run-off for gold and claim an extraordinary win.
Watching on in both finals were proud parents Tom and Lisa, who were thrilled to see their daughters perform so well on the Aussies stage.
“Leah and Emily are identical and Alex is non-identical, and she doesn’t want anything to do with her sisters in any way,” Tom said.
“She is the more mature one, in her eyes. They are all good kids. They listen to their parents, most of the time. They also train hard. They train four hours, four days a week for gymnastics and for flagging that dynamic movement off the sand and upper body strength they have developed is so important for them.”
Lisa said it had been an unbelievable day watching the flags competition progress.
“I’m so proud of all my girls, and Ashleigh too. I don’t think North Cronulla has ever had four in a flags final before,” she said.
“For Alex to win both finals back to back is extraordinary. She’s a very determined young lady.”
The talented and versatile Rampoldi girls will take off their caps and pull on the leotards to compete in the New South Wales gymnastics championships next weekend. They also play soccer and oztag.
“It’s a very busy, loud and fun household,” Lisa said.