Billson, Jones win big at Lifesaving SA awards

Cape Town - KwaZulu-Natal’s Carmel Billson - as was the case in 2016 - was named General Tire Lifesaving South Africa Female Athlete of the Year while Eastern Province’s Daniel Jones was the Male Athlete of the Year.

The Eastern Cape also produced the winner in the Junior Female Athlete of the Year, through Amica de Jager and Durban Surf’s Connor Botha was the Junior Male Athlete of the Year.

KZN’s Durban Surf sprint queen Mandi Maritz won the prestigious President’s Award for her outstanding achievement in the sport of lifesaving.

Lifesaving South Africa President Dylan Tommy said Maritz was a unanimous choice for what she had contributed to the sport and the community aspect in the last decade.

Maritz, who dominated the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Interprovincial and Interclub Championships, was also the South African star at the recent International Sanyo Bussan Cup in Japan.

Russell Sadler was named Coach of the Year.

Cape Town’s Blue Downs was named Club of the Year.

The past week proved a massive one for Lifesaving South Africa with Tommy confirming the appointment of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco as patron of Lifesaving South Africa.

“It is a great honour for me to be named patron of Lifesaving South Africa, an organisation that shares the same vision as my Foundation and one that I have always been inspired by. Lifesaving South Africa’s commitment to drowning prevention is remarkable and the spirit of volunteering that you are instilling in our young people is infectious,” said HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco (formerly Charlene Wittstock).

The Princess discovered her passion for the water and dedicated 20 years of her life to become an Olympic swimmer, representing South Africa in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. 

Lifesaving South Africa was also gifted 200 rescue boards - with a value of R2 million - to distribute to each of its clubs, in a Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation gesture aimed at fighting drowning fatalities in South Africa.

Gavin Varejes, President of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa, announced the R2 million donation and thanked Cell C and Richmark Holdings for the generous contribution to Lifesaving South Africa and also the Princess’s Foundation.

General Tire LifesavingSA 2017 national awards:

1. President’s Award

a. Mandi Maritz – for her outstanding achievement in the sport of lifesaving for the past decade

b. Janelle Naidoo – LSA Staff member for outstanding administration of LSA head office

2. Club of the Year – X-Stream Lifesaving Club from Blue Downs, Cape Town

3. Daphne Nel Trophy – Lifesaving Eastern Cape

4. Lifesaver of the Year – Darren Willars (Big Bay)

5. Administration Cup – Cape Town District

6. Instructor of the Year – Jeanne Topliss from Fish Hoek SLC

7. Medical Safety Trophy – Pool Awards – Gauteng Province

8. Medical Safety Trophy – Surf Awards – Lifesaving Western Cape

9. Patroller of the Year – Inland – Kim Thomas from AquaFin in KZN with 253 hour

10. Patroller of the Year – Coastal – Sabelo Ndlovu from Marine in KZN with 675 hours

11. Male Athlete of the Year – Daniel Jones from Summerstrand/Kings Beach

12. Female Athlete of the Year – Carmel Billson from Marine

13. Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Connor Botha from Durban Surf

14. Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Amica De Jager from Woodridge

15. Coach of the Year – Russell Sadler

16. LSA Honours

a. Jennileigh Kruger

b. Peter Odendaal

c. Warren Prins

17. LSA Meritorious Award

a. Kevin Welch

b. Marius Oosthuizen

c. Denton Estment

Bravery award:

Armand van Wyk (19)

Mafikeng resident and first-time visitor to Bushman’s River mouth, Armand van Wyk, was on the beach just after 17:00 on Friday, December 23, 2016, when he noticed a person being swept out to sea in a strong rip current. He immediately ran through 100 metres of shallow water, and then swam out through the two to three-metre waves into the choppy sea, without any aids, and clad only in his bathing trunks. The 15/20 knot westerly wind had also created difficult conditions. Armand reached the floundering victim about 100 metres behind the backline, calmed him down and helped keep him afloat. The rescued man did not require any medical assistance. 

This Letter of Commendation is awarded to Van Wyk for unhesitatingly going to the aid of the stricken person and assisting him safely back to shore. Van Wyk’s actions are in keeping with the high ideals of rescue and service, which Lifesaving South Africa endeavours to promote and practice.  

Carmel Billson (

Daniel Jones (

Mandi Maritz (

Coach of the Year – Russell Sadlerand Peter Odendaal (
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