Notten brothers, Mandi Maritz among the stars at national lifesaving champs in PE

Beach sprint and flags specialist Mandi Maritz will be one to watch in Port Elizabeth next week
Beach sprint and flags specialist Mandi Maritz will be one to watch in Port Elizabeth next week

Expect the Western Cape’s Notten brothers, Dominic and Nic, to be among the stars at the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Championships in Port Elizabeth.

The sport’s premier event of the year is also the biggest lifesaving extravaganza in the country and in 2018 the pool and surf championships combined for the first time in one city to bring together 1669 competitors from 41 national clubs. These athletes competed in 528 events over eight days.

The numbers are expected to be even more when the event starts on Sunday, March 24 and concludes next weekend.

South African lifesaving is enjoying the brilliance of a golden generation, with the Notten brothers at the forefront locally and internationally.

Nic (Notten) recently won gold at the World Championships in Adelaide, Australia while Dominic has consistently been among the medals since he won the U19 surfski at he Australian nationals in 2013.

Kwazulu-Natal, as a province, will headline the women’s senior pool and surf competitions respectively through Marine and Durban Surf.

Carmel Billson, competing for the powerhouse Marine Surf, is in great form and a fortnight ago ranked first among the female seniors at the South African OpenWater Championships in Bloemfontein.

The strength of Marine in the next week in Port Elizabeth will be from their women, be it in the pool or surf.

There isn’t stronger than Billson, who last year combined her excellence in the pool and surf to win 15 titles. The previous year she won a record 17 provincial and national titles.

Beach sprint and flags specialist Mandi Maritz is the best the country has ever produced in the sport, and she has also been among the finest internationally over the past decade.

Maritz will be another headline act after winning double gold last year in Port Elizabeth and taking silver in the flags at the World Championships in Australia.

Her success added to the gold she won at the 2010 World Championships in Egypt, and the double bronze (sprint and flags) at the World Championship in 2016.

South Africa’s most celebrated beach sprinter Ryle de Morny will also command special attention after another fantastic World Championships, where he won a South African record 10th World Championship medal.

This year’s schedule: March 24: Masters Surf and Opening Ceremony. March 25-27: Nippers Surf; Masters, Juniors and Seniors Pool. March 28-30: Seniors and Juniors Surf; Nippers Pool.

Surf Boats are back again with eight crew competing.