Team South Africa’s best delivered at the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa Pool National Championships in Port Elizabeth.
The Tuks maestro Johan Lourens, the leader of Team South Africa, had no equal in winning three medals.
And Marine’s Carmel Billson, brilliant at the 2018 General Tire Lifesaving South African National Championships, once again proved her class in the 2019 Pool Championships at Newton Park in this year’s National Championships.
Expect more from Kwazulu-Natal’s golden girl when Lifesaving’s senior female elite take to the surf later in the week. Billson is of the rare breed who flourishes in the Pool and Surf. She also recently was the top female senior at the South African National Stillwater Championships in Bloemfontein.
Billson is modern South African lifesaving royalty – with her sisters consistently on the medal podium. But there isn’t a female athlete who amasses more points at any championship than (Carmel) Billson.
Two years ago, she won a South African record 17 titles and last year she was the most prolific points scorer at the nationals in Port Elizabeth; in the pool and in the surf.
Billson, a member of Team South Africa’s World Cup squad in Australia in 2018, arrived in Port Elizabeth in red-hot form. She didn’t disappoint in the senior pool events, winning the 200 LC metre Obstacle.
Billson then came within a second of breaking her own South African record in the 100 LC metre Rescue Medley.
Lourens, competing for Tuks, showed his class to win gold, but his time was nearly six seconds off his South African record.
Lourens added a second gold din the 100 LC metre Rescue Medley.
Lourens then led Tuks to victory in the Men’s 4x50 metres Medley Rescue Relay.
Leshen Pillay took gold in the U14 200 LC Metre Obstacle. Calvin Coetzee and Ockert van Schalkwyk were first in the same event in the under 15/16 and under 17/18 category respectively.
Chloe le Roux, in the female under 14 200 LC Metre Obstacle, was first and Team South Africa international Sulinka van den Berg also won gold in the 200 LC Metre Obstacle for females 15-16 years-old.
Le Roux and Van den Berg swim for the Mangaung Lifesaving Club, whose Guilma Lausberg came close to breaking Tanya Pieterse’s South African record in the female under 14 100 metre LC Rescue Medley.
Van den Berg would also win the female 15-16 age group 100 LC Medley and then break Pieterse’s South African record in the 100 LC Metre Manikin Tow.
Umhlanga Rocks’s Connor Botha was also in good form. South Africa’s most talented junior, be it pool, surf or Stillwater, prospered individually and in the relays.
The Nippers concluded the Surf Championships at King’s Beach.
Luke van Neel of Monwabisi Surf Lifesaving Club pulled off a doubl in the U14 Flags event, adding to his Gold in the Beach sprints from the previous day, and beating his clubmate Samuel Booysen.
Umghlanga Rocks’s Matthew Coetzer of uMhlanga did the treble in winning the male under 14 board event, which added to his gold in the Nipper Iron.@mark_keohane