Gqeberha - There was double delight for Durban Surf at the DHL Lifesaving South Africa National Championships, which concluded at Kings Beach and Newton Park pool on Saturday.
Durban Surf’s Amica de Jager and Wade Krieger were named the female and male athletes of the championships in the Open Division.
Durban Surf’s Melissa Corbett also enjoyed a great championship, winning the flags and sprint double.
Kwazulu-natal, traditionally a powerhouse, had a strong presence through Durban Surf, Marine and Umhlanga Rocks.
Marine’s men and women were also tops in the Wimpy Surf Boats championship, which featured nine races over three gruelling successive days.
The Cape’s Clifton won the surf seniors and juniors competition, but individually some of the biggest performances came from KZN athletes.
Among them were Umhlanga’s 16-year-old Tatum Botha, who won the prestigious Iron title and her father Dylan Botha, an iconic figure in the sport, completed the week with a victory in the masters.
Durban Surf’s Matthew Allen won the boys u15 division, with three golds and a silver, and club teammate Dayna Deeble won the girls u15 division.
Umhlanga’s Samuel Norton was sensational in winning gold in all four of his events to claim the overall u19 title and Umhlanga’s Sasha Corris, a Team South Africa regular, also enjoyed a strong championship.
On Saturday’s final day, Summerstrand’s Tracy Gous did as she always does at the DHL Lifesaving South Africa Championships – she won gold in the Masters.
Gous, competing in the 40-44 years old section, showed nothing had changed in between wins in 2019 and 2021, with last year’s national championships cancelled because of Covid.
Summerstrand’s nippers had been the big stars earlier in the week in the pool and it was also a case of ‘local is lekker’ with Kings Beach’s Keegan Cooke named male athlete of the surf championship, along with Durban Surf’s Iron winner, Krieger.
The local athletes continued to excel on the final day in the masters event, with Gous consistent in performance. Other local winners with Kings Beach’s PJ Duffy (in the 50-54 years category), were Brian Clarke (55-59 years), Summerstrand’s Jared Jordan (30-34 years), Johan Heath (35-39 years) and Bradley Reen (40-44 years).
Other winners in the masters were: Carryl van Bassen Jongbloet (55, Umhlanga), Derek Morris (62, Umhlanga), Tanya Osborne (47, Marine), Dylan Botha (47, Umhlanga), Gordon Potgieter (49, Seagulls) and Mike Rodda (53, Umhlanga),
In the junior pool event, Bellville teenager Willem Basson broke a national record and took double gold at Newton Park.
Basson broke the South African record in the 100 LC Metres Manikin with fins and added a second gold in the 100 LC Rescue Medley.
It was a case of the old and the new flourishing in the pool with Tuks' veteran Johan Lourens superb and Basson equally impressive.
Lourens is just 25 years old but in the competitive sport of lifesaving that means he has been around for more than a decade. He is Team South Africa’s top pool specialist and will lead the charge in the Africa Games in Egypt from December 1-5. Lourens is also expected to feature prominently at the World Games in Birmingham, England, in 2022 and he has already qualified for the Games in the 100 LC Metres Manikin with fins.
Lourens, in tandem with Andries Mouton, also led Tuks to gold in the team events.
Tuks’ Kendra du Toit was consistent in victory in the female 17-18 year old section, Tuks’ Tovre van Zyl was the pick of the winners in the female open division and Durban Surf’s De Jager, Sasha-lee Corris and Kristin Bellinghan were prominent. In the men’s open category Lourens was his usual self, Andre Mouton had reason to cheer and Tuks’ Robbie le Roux had a very strong and successful week.
More than 1000 of the finest nippers, juniors, seniors and masters entertained and thrived at this year’s event and several national records were smashed in the surf and pool across all divisions.