CAPE TOWN - South African teenager Calvin Coetzee added more gold to Lifesaving South Africa’s treasured year with a first-place finish in the 200 metres obstacle swim at the International German Cup.
Coetzee, 17, is one of three South Africans competing at an event regarded as one of the premier youth still-water events in Lifesaving’s international calendar. The best teenage still-water athletes from 16 countries are on display.
Coetzee of the Suncoast Pirates Club in KwaZulu-Natal, struck gold in the opening event and showed the type of form that brought him success at the Royal Life Saving (RLSS) Commonwealth Festival of Lifesaving Championships in Durban.
Team South Africa, in Durban, claimed an overall silver behind Australia, but at the German Cup the focus is more on the South African individuals.
And the small contingent of South Africans did not disappoint.
JP van Zyl, another of the sport’s rising teenage stars, won silver in the 50m Manikin Carry.
Coetzee and Milan Erasmus are also among the best in the line throw discipline and team management believe the duo are capable of lowering the junior world record in the course of the two-day event.
Coetzee’s victory was the perfect start to Lifesaving South Africa’s international onslaught in the next two weekends, with the German Cup to be followed by the prestigious still-water Orange Cup in the Netherlands and the International Surf Rescue Championships in New Zealand, which will feature the sport’s top eight countries.
Lifesaving South Africa’s year started with confirmation of a three-year sponsorship from General Tire and culminated with the Federation being named the best in the country at the South African National Sports Awards.
Lifesaving South Africa’s President Dylan Tommy was also one of three finalists for Administrator of the Year award.
Tommy expressed his delight at the South African success in Germany and said he was hopeful of more success in the Netherlands and New Zealand.
(Calvin) Coetzee was a part of the South African Development Team at the Commonwealth Championships in Durban and his performance in Germany reinforced the value of exposing South Africa’s best young lifesaving talent to international competitions.
The criteria for the German Cup participation was that the athlete had to be under 18 and have placed individually in the top 10 across three events at the General Tire/Lifesaving South African still-water National Championships.
All three of Van Zyl, Coetzee and Erasmus will also represent Team South Africa at the Orange Cup in the Netherlands.
Team South Africa: Orange Cup, Netherlands
Men: JP van Zyl (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Milan Erasmus (Durban Surf Lifesaving Club, KZN), Calvin Coetzee (Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club, KZN), Rudi van Graan (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West)
Women: Natalie Billson (Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, KZN), Bianca Opperman (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Sulinke van den Berg (Mangaung Lifesaving Club, Free State), Dehanke van Rensburg (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Deborah Dredge (Tuks Lifesaving Club, Gauteng).
International Surf Rescue Challenge - New Zealand
Men: Daniel Jones, Dylan Bridger, Bradley Odendaal, Malec Odendaal, Johnathan Rorke, Matthew Bowman
Women: Carmel Billson, Sasha Lee Nordengen, Candice Murray, Jodi Cleworth, lauren Billson
Manager: Peter Odendaal, Senior coach: Russell Sadler
Men: Joshua Templeton, Connor Botha, Matt Maroun, Cheyne Haupt, Runaldo Pedro, Kurt Rautenbach
Women: Amica de Jager, Teagan Hardwick, Tamryn McKie, Megan Kreft, Alice Edward, Ally Chislett
Manager: Louise Erasmus, Junior coach: Claudio Miller
* General Tire/Lifesaving SA rescues more than 3000 people annually. Help save more lives and SMS “Watersmart” to 49026 and donate R15 to Drowning Prevention Education. General Tire in 2017 became the first mainline sponsor of Lifesaving South Africa.