Rourke races to gold

Jonathan Rourke (
Jonathan Rourke (

Jonathan Rourke is the fastest beach sprinter in South African Lifesaving.

Rourke, at the recent KwaZulu-Natal Wimpy Lifesaving South Africa Provincial Club Championships, beat the legendary South African sprint king Ryle de Morny into second place. The win was the third time in four showdown over the past three years that Rourke has dominated the celebrated De Morny.

De Morny, formerly of the False Bay Club in the Western Cape, was competing for Durban Surf for the first time.

The two sprinters will clash again in Port Elizabeth at the Wimpy Lifesaving South Africa National Inter-club Championships. The National competition is from 19 March to 26 March and will include the seniors, juniors, masters and nippers. For the third successive year the lifesaving extravaganza will combine all the respective categories in the surf and pool.

Rourke, representing Umhlanga, was one of the stand out performers, but it was the collective effort of Durban Surf that saw the club snatch a historic overall half-point win at Marine's expense.

Durban Surf, with 299.5 points triumphed over Marine's 299 points. The youthful Umghlanga Rocks squad completed the podium with 243.5 points. Pirates and the Durban Pro Lifeguards were fourth and fifth respectively.

George Edward dominated the men's events in taking the prestigious Iron Man title and also the Board Race. Edward, despite being a junior, was too strong for men several men his senior and he now holds the rare distinction of having won the best competitor at under 19 and senior level in Kwazulu-Natal. Chris McGlynn inspired in the male swims on his return to competitive Lifesaving. MGlynn was particularly dominant in the Surf Swim.

De Morny, coming back from a horrific shoulder injury, did not compete in his favoured flags event. In his absence, Chevon Clarke took gold.

Marine's Carmel Billson, for the past three years, has had no equal in South African Lifesaving, be it in the pool or surf, but Billson was a mixed bag in terms of results. Collectively, the Billson sisters of Carmel, Lauren and Natalie won Marine many points but 2020 was an event that spoke to Amica de Jager, more than any other female competitor.

De Jager was consistent and, at times, brilliant, and won the overall female competitor title. Provincial and National Team regulars Sasha Lee Corris-Nordengen and Kristin Belligan were influential for the seniors and among the juniors there was no female better than Paige Horn.

South Africa's sprint queen Mandi Maritz did not compete and Melissa Corbett dined out in winning the female sprints and beach flags. Corbett was fantastic in the flags and in the most dramatic finish of the day, she tied (on a dead heat) with (Paige) Horne in the sprint. Corbett's half point ensured Durban Surf the overall title.



- Lifesaving South Africa

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