Lourens head and shoulders above at Pretoria ITP
Lourens’s Gauteng A took the overall honours from North West and Western Cape, while also winning the open title. Gauteng A’s Nippers were dominant in taking first place, and the junior victors were Free State.
KwaZulu-Natal, whose athletes excelled in the pool at the National Club Championships earlier in the year, did not participate at the inter-provincials.
The coastal powerhouses KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape traditionally are supreme at the surf championships, but this time the inland provinces like Gauteng, North West and Free State proved the driving force in the pool events.
Lourens, who represents Tuks Lifesaving at club level, was exceptional in bagging six golds and a silver.
He was equally brilliant at the National Club Championships in Port Elizabeth where he scored an unmatched 48 points in the open male division.
Lourens, a national and world championship winner, has always said lifesaving extended beyond medals and that he saw it as a way to make a difference in the community.
Lourens specialises in the 200m obstacle swim and the 100m manikin tow with fins, but at the Hillcrest pool he was imposing in every event he swam.
“Lifesaving is the ultimate sport. You’ve got to be as disciplined and fit, as in any other sport, but then there is that human factor. Every day we train not only to become faster and more efficient in the water, but we are also learning what to do to help people in need,” Lourens told Tuks’s Wilhem de Swardt.
Free State’s Sulinka van den Berg, who has represented South Africa, was also a regular on the victors’ podium. Bianca Opperman was another to make her mark.
Gauteng’s Matthew Bowyer and Western Cape’s Mark Kleinhans (in the male 14-18 category) enjoyed a very good championship, and the brother/sister duo of Elijah and Deborah Dredge also impressed in the 12-13 male and 14-18 women’s category respectively.
1 Gauteng A 544; 2 North West 426; 3 Western Cape 417; 4 Free State A 347; 5 Gauteng B 90; 6 Free State B 43; 7 Eastern Cape 24; 8 KwaZulu-Natal 14
1 Free State A 186; 2 Gauteng A 151; 3 Western Cape 141
1 Gauteng A 209; 2 North West 189; 3 Western Cape 175@mark_keohane