Cape Town - South Africa’s teenage duo of Calvin Coetzee and JP van Zyl shone on day one of the International German Cup in Warendorf.
Coetzee took gold in the event’s opening race, the 200 metres obstacle swim and Van Zyl won silver in the 50 m Manikin Carry.
Coetzee, 17, is one of three South Africans competing at one of the premier still water events on Lifesaving’s international calendar and he showed the type of form that brought him success at the Royal Life Saving (RLSS) Commonwealth Festival of Lifesaving Championships in Durban.
Team South Africa, in Durban, claimed an overall silver behind Australia, but at the German Cup the focus is more on the South African individuals.
And the small contingent of South Africans did not disappoint.
Coetzee and Milan Erasmus are also among the best in the line throw discipline and team management believe the duo are capable of lowering the junior world record.
Coetzee’s first place victory was the perfect start to Lifesaving South Africa’s international onslaught in the next two weekends, with the German Cup followed by the prestigious still water Orange Cup in the Netherlands and the International Surf Rescue Challenge in New Zealand, which features the sport’s best male and female athletes.
Lifesaving South Africa’s year started with confirmation of a three-year sponsorship from General Tire and culminated with the Federation being named the best in the country at the South African National Sports Awards.
Lifesaving South Africa’s President Dylan Tommy was also one of three finalists for Administrator of the Year award.
Tommy expressed his delight at the South African success in Germany and said he was hopeful of more success in the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Coetzee was a part of the South African Development Team at the Commonwealth Championships in Durban and his performance in Germany reinforced the value of exposing South Africa’s best young talent to international competitions.
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.
All three of Van Zyl, Coetzee and Erasmus will also represent Team South Africa at the Orange Cup in the Netherlands.
Team South Africa - Orange Cup, Netherlands
(Men) 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)
Women) 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)