Picture: karl bergemann
Fish Hoek also successfully defended their national interclub championship with an emphatic victory. Marine was second best, some way off but still comfortably ahead of third placed Llandudno.
KwaZulu-Natal’s Carmel Billson won the overall title for best female athlete after seeing off the impressive challenge of Fish Hoek’s Kirsten Flanagan, who produced outstanding results across a range of disciplines.
Durban Surf’s Tamryn Montgomery won the under-19 individual title, Suncoast Pirates’s Alice Edwards took first among the under-17s and Tamryn McKie won the under-15 overall girls’ title.
The old and young in KZN celebrated for good reason as Durban Surf’s magnificent juniors again took the overall title and Suncoast Pirates’ icon Stacey Bowley was honoured for being inducted into the International Hall of Fame.
Fish Hoek’s depth among the seniors was great and is a credit to all that is good and strong within the club structure and the Fish Hoek lifesaving community.
The club’s strength includes some of the finest lifesavers in the world and currently Fish Hoek has no equal in South Africa among the seniors.
The Eastern Cape again produced good individual performances, through the likes of Daniel Jones and youngsters Amica de Jager and Bradley Odendaal, but the Eastern Cape clubs had no answer to the best of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, although Kings Beach, among the juniors, were good value for their overall silver.
The Interclub National Championships, a four-day extravaganza featuring 800 of the country’s finest, produced thrilling performances and world-class efforts from Notten, Flanagan, Billson and Mandi Maritz in the Beach Sprints and Flags.
But the story of the 2017 National Championships was 20-year-old Jonathan Rorke’s stunning upset against the country and world’s most celebrated beach sprinter Ryle de Morny.
Rorke, from the Scottburgh Club in KwaZulu-Natal, won a photo finish from De Morny in his first appearance at a national championship.
De Morny won gold in the flags, beating False Bay teammate Tariq Hassiem, who was famously saved from a Great White Shark attack by older brother Achmat Hassiem. The latter lost his leg and nearly his life in saving his brother’s life, but both brothers were an inspirational presence during the National Championships. Achmat competed in the inaugural Legends’ Celebrity challenge, which was won by Percy Montgomery, the record points scorer in Springbok Test history.
Montgomery donated 50 percent of his R20 000 winning cheque to LifeSaving South Africa’s Water Education programme, “WaterSmart” and 50 percent to the SA Children’s Home Charity.
Box 1: General Tire recently committed in excess of R5million to a three-year investment in LifeSaving South Africa to complement their road safety initiatives with the crucial need for water safety. They also sponsor the Nippers National Championship at Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth from April 6-8.