History made at SA lifesaving champs

Kwazulu-Natal’s Connor Botha made history at the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Club Surf Championships in becoming the first teenager to win the open mens’ Iron race.

Botha, just 17 years-old, upstaged Fish Hoek’s Nic Notten, who won the title in 2018. Botha, competing for Umhlanga Rocks, was expected to win the junior Iron but in a day of drama he finished third. Botha, who had led the race from the start, got upstaged by a freak wave near the finish.

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uMhlanga Rocks Lifesaving Club team members Jeffrey Griffith (on the Left) and MJ Mkhize (on the right), drag their patient Sebatastian Garreau (centre) across the line in a thrilling finish to take the Mens Open Rescue Tube Rescue final. The swimmer was Matthew Boumann. Photo: topfoto.net

There would be no such bad luck for him in the senior Iron.

It was a day for old and the new with South Africa’s most celebrated sprint and flags duo of Ryle de Morny and Mandi Maritz also taking gold in the sprint and flags respectively.

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Luke Durr of Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club held on to win a photo finish Boys Junior Beach Relay event. Photo: topfoto.net

De Morny, a gold medal winner in the flags at last year’s world championships in Australia, won the sprint title for the first time in three years. But the final proved a spectator letdown after defending champion Jonathan Rorke was disqualified in the semi-finals for a false start.

Rorke, in 2017 and 2018, had beaten De Morny into second place and this was the most anticipated event at the Championship. 

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Carmel Billson of Marine Lifesaving Club held on to win a hard fought Womens Open Senior Iron Man title. Photo: topfoto.net

Maritz, who won gold in the flags at the world championships, was a comfortable winner in Port Elizabeth. She is the favourite to do the flags and sprint double, as she did in 2018.

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Ryle de Morny overcame an injury to reconquer the Mens Open Beach Sprint final. His nemesis from last year, Jono Rorke of Scottburgh false started in the semi finals and was disqualified. Photo: topfoto.net

Marine’s Carmel Billson also transferred her brilliance from the pool to the surf in winning the female open Iron.

Billson totaled 48 points at the Pool Championships earlier in the week and proved as unstoppable, despite the change of conditions. 

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