Lifesaving SA

Rorke, Odendaal top SA medal contenders

2017-11-27 10:09
Jonathan Rorke (topfoto)

Cape Town - South Africa’s youthful beach sprinters Jonathan Rorke and Bradley Odendaal are strong medal options in this weekend’s International Surf Rescue Challenge, which features the sport’s eight best countries and is essentially Lifesaving’s world championship.

South Africa traditionally has been guaranteed glory in the male and female beach sprints, but South Africa’s king and queen of the beach Ryle de Morny and Mandi Maritz are both unavailable.

There is no obvious successor to Maritz in the sprints and flags disciplines, but both Rorke and Odendaal have the ability to match De Morny’s stunning successes of the last decade.

De Morny has twice been world champion and has 10 world championship medals in sprints and flags.

Rorke stunned De Morny into second place at the General Tire Nationals in Camps Bay, and Odendaal, dominant in the junior ranks for the past few seasons, excelled at the Sanyo International in Japan.

Hosts New Zealand and trans-Tasman rivals Australia have always been dominant in the biggest international competitions but there is a belief that the quality of the South African squad is good enough to place among the medals.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Carmel Billson will lead the female challenge in a squad that also includes her very talented sister Lauren Billson.

Billson is the 2016 and 2017 General Tire Lifesaving South Africa female athlete of the Year and has been the most imposing female athlete in the sport in the last two years.

Eastern Province’s Daniel Jones will be hoping to replicate his brilliant performances at the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Championships.

South Africa’s still water lifesaving specialists will also be in action at the Orange Cup in the Netherlands this weekend, with the third Billson sister (Natalie) significantly in-form and likely to be at the forefront of South Africa’s performance.

South Africa’s teenage male trio of Calvin Coetzee, JP van Zyl and Milan Erasmus this past weekend warmed up for the Orange Cup with excellent results at the International German Cup in Warendorf.

The trio, competing against athletes from 16 countries, combined for six medals, which included one gold, four silvers and a bronze.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Coetzee, just 17-years-old, started the German Cup with a gold medal in the 200m obstacle swim and on the second day won silver in the 100 m Rescue Medley, ahead of Van Zyl, who added a bronze to two silver medals, the second of which he won in the 100m Manikin Carry with Fins. 

Van Zyl’s first silver was in the 50m Manikin Carry.

Erasmus won silver in the 200m Superlife.

The criteria for the German Cup participation was that the athlete had to be under 18 and have placed individually in the top 10 across three events at the General Tire/Lifesaving South African still water National Championships.


Orange Cup, Netherlands


JP van Zyl (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Milan Erasmus (Durban Surf Lifesaving Club, KZN), Calvin Coetzee (Suncoast Pirates Lifesaving Club, KZN), Rudi van Graan (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West)


Natalie Billson (Marine Surf Lifesaving Club, KZN), Bianca Opperman (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Sulinke van den Berg (Mangaung Lifesaving Club, Free State), Dehanke van Rensburg (Harties Refection Lifesaving Club, North West), Deborah Dredge (Tuks Lifesaving Club, Gauteng).

International Surf Rescue Challenge, New Zealand

Senior Team


Daniel Jones, Dylan Bridger, Bradley Odendaal, Malec Odendaal, Jonathan Rorke, Matthew Bowman


Carmel Billson, Sasha Lee Nordengen, Candice Murray, Kelly Fell, Jodi Cleworth, Lauren Billson

Senior manager: Peter Odendaal

Senior coach: Russell Sadler

Junior team


Joshua Templeton, Connor Botha, Matt Maroun, Cheyne Haupt, Runaldo Pedro, Kurt Rautenbach


Amica de Jager, Teagan Hardwick, Tamryn McKie, Megan Kreft, Alice Edward, Ally Chislett

Junior manager: Louise Erasmus

Junior coach: Claudio Miller

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