CAPE TOWN – KwaZulu-Natal are officially the best lifesaving province in South Africa.
KZN smashed all comers in the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa Pool and Surf Interprovincial Championship in Durban.
The Interprovincial success follows on from Marine Lifesaving Club's overall victory at the National Club Championships in Port Elizabeth in April.
Individually, KZN also took the two most prestigious titles in the Men's and Women's Open Iron.
Kwazulu Natal’s Luke Nisbet upstaged South Africa’s National Club Champion Dominic Notten in the final of the Men’s Open Iron and KZN’s Carmel Billson took gold in the Women’s Open Iron. Her provincial and (Marine) club teammate Sasha-Lee Nordengen was second.
The Western Cape’s Notten got the better of Nisbet in the Single Ski Surf, but overall the weekend belonged to athletes from KZN.
The Western Cape were strong among the Nippers and individually the likes of Notten and sprint specialist Ryle de Morny were stand out performers.
De Morny did the treble in taking gold in the flags, sprint and beach relay. South Africa’s national sprint champion Jonathan Rorke (KZN) did not compete.
De Morny, beaten by Rorke in the sprint at the National Club Championships in Port Elizabeth, finished the domestic season with the best possible three-gold medal return.
Billson was unrivalled in her dominance among the seniors and consolidated her standing as the country’s premier female athlete in lifesaving, be it Pool or Surf. She broke two national Pool records and KZN’s Kristin Bellingham broke one senior Pool record. The most successful record breaker was KZN’s Ashley Chislett, who set three new junior national marks.
Billson, Bianca von Bargen (sprints and flags) and Hayley Nixon (all from KZN) provided the golden moments among the senior females.
Billson is one of a select elite group equally good in the Pool and Surf when it comes to competitive Lifesaving.
She was South Africa’s 2017 Female Athlete of the Year and won a record number of national, club and provincial championships for anyone in the sport during a calendar year. Her Interprovincial points scoring form mirrored her performance at the National Club Championships in Port Elizabeth in April, when she won more points than anyone else and also competed in the most events.
Other winners included Shaun Diaz and (Luke) Nisbet (KZN) in the Men’s Open Board Rescue Final, Kyeta Purchase (KZN) in the Women’s Open Board Race and Travis Misdorp (KZN) in the Men’s Open Board Final.
The Eastern Cape's Chene de Jager and Britney Linder broke the KZN monopoly on gold with victory in the Women’s Open Board Rescue event.
Gauteng’s Johan Lourens, part of the National Pool Squad, was the top performing senior male and Free State’s Sulinka van den Berg was at the forefront of the female’s junior competition.
KZN’s Martin Binedell, who recently competed at the Commonwealth Games as part of Team South Africa’s swimming squad, was also in good form in winning the Men’s 200m Obstacle Race.
Milan Erasmus, another of KZN’s internationals, won the Open Line throw event.
Free State’s Guilma Lausberg (girls) and Pieter Delport (boys) were the stars among the Nippers.
Binedell also won the Men’s Open Surf event.
KZN’s teenage brother/sister duo of Connor and Tatum Botha flourished, as they had done at the National Club Championships. (Connor) Botha controlled the water in the junior men’s, winning the Board Race and the Iron Man.
KZN won every water event among the junior females, with 15 year-old Paige Horn winning the Board Race and finishing second to Alice Edward in the Iron Woman. Tamryn McKie won the Surfski event and Ally Chislett won gold in the Surf Swim.
(Tatum) Botha, in the Nipper Division, had no equal and won gold in the Surf Swim, Board Race and Iron Woman. Botha has been the most dominant Nipper in South Africa in the last two years, be it in the Pool, in the Surf or on the sand.