By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City sisters Brynn and Mia Gallagher know all about hard work and determination to be the best. But somehow, when they go out on their surfboards, competition is the furthest thing on their minds.
They do what they love and they do it well. And it was noticed time and time again, as their trophies went up.
But the junior Olympics? Well, that’s a whole different story. At least that’s what Brynn, 13 and 15, Mia thought.
Until last month. They went to the Toyota USA Surfing Championship in San Clemente, Calif., Where they were both named to the United States Junior Olympic Team.
It was a four day competition with the Gallagheres competing against other top surfers. Their selection to the Junior Olympics squad was based on their performance, not only in the last competition, but throughout the year.
Being a part of the Junior Olympic Team will give the Gallaghers the opportunity to train and learn from the best and compete with other top surfers.
It wasn’t until the day of the final in San Clemente that the Gallaghers found out they were part of the squad.
“It was a complete surprise. We were so happy. We couldn’t believe it,” said Brynn, who will be entering first grade at Ocean City High School in September. “I was really happy when I got to heard my name called and really proud when we were both chosen for the team. “
Brynn had some advice for other young athletes.
“Sure, love what you’re doing and if you love it you’ll do it as much as possible. Just focus on the process and not so much on the outcome,” she said.
Brynn said she met amazing people and the surf was awesome during the competition.
“There are always really good waves and it was really cool to ride with the best athletes in the country,” she noted.
Now she hopes to make people proud.
“My sister and I are definitely pushing each other,” Brynn said. “We want to make New Jersey proud and hopefully one day – our country.”
When Mia’s name was called up for selection to the Junior Olympic Team, she was nowhere to be found.
But it wouldn’t take too long to find her. She surfed with her father, Chad Gallagher, co-director of the Eastern Surfing Association.
When Mia got out of the water and learned of her selection, she said it was “a total surprise”.
“I think just having Olympic in the title makes me feel like I have a chance to do it, ”said Mia, who will be a junior at Ocean City High School in the fall. “It makes me want to work harder to try to get there.”
Mia, who teaches surfing through her job at an Ocean City surf shop, has said, like her sister and father, that she loves surfing.
“Whenever there are waves, I surf,” she says. “I surf before and after giving surf lessons and I surf before going to work and before or after school.
The Gallagher sisters both said they were grateful to their supportive parents and a wonderful community.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me so far and everyone in Ocean City who has supported me and my sister,” Mia noted.
As the sisters followed in their father’s surfing footsteps, Chad Gallagher said he had never been as good as them.
“I grew up surfing. But I didn’t go as far as them, ”he said. “It’s amazing how much they’ve grown. They came out of the peloton.
And with American Carissa Moore just winning her gold medal early in surfing in Olympic sports, it looks like anything is possible for the Gallagher sisters.
“They are a force,” said Chad Gallagher. “It’s hard for me to have waves now when I’m surfing with them. They blew me away. “