Bloemfontein lifesavers excel at national champs

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Some members of the Bloemfontein Central Lifesaving Club who competed in the recent South African Championship in Gqeberha. From left to right - Lana Loots, Heleen Helgeman, Guilma Lausberg, Len-Douglas Mac Kay, Andries Jansen van Vuuren, Lara Delport, Lyon van Wijk and Bernard Mac Kay. PHOTO: LYNETTE MAC KAY

The Bloemfontein Central Lifesaving Club competed in the recent South African Championship in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) where they flew the Free State flag high, and there also earned the accolade for the best team in the country.

The competition took place from 4 to 8 October in the Friendly City, and it was especially in the pool events where they excelled, while in the sea events, the team from the landlocked province didn’t do as well.

The juniors, who are made up of competitors from the ages 14 to 18 competed in the sea events, while the nippers, who are up until the age of 13, took to the pool. On the Tuesday, the seniors moved to the pool events, while the nippers headed to the ocean where Anke van der Poel managed to claim the bronze medal in the 100m manikin carry.

When the juniors moved over to the pool events, they started producing better results, and this led to several of the youngsters reaching the finals of the respective disciplines. Guilma Lausberg especially excelled for the girls. She managed to win all of her disciplines, while she was also named as the best girl’s lifesaver at the championships in her age group.
Andries Jansen van Vuuren excelled in several of the individual items and eventually finished in joint first in his age group.

Len-Douglas Mac Kay, who was the only national representative from the club at the championships, performed exceedingly well and also earned a national record. He broke the South African record in the 200m Super Lifesaver event. The discipline requires a competition to swim a 75m freestyle and carry a manikin for 25m. During the third lap they have to put on their swimming fins and also put on a tube over one shoulder and then swim another freestyle lap. Once this is done, the manikin has to be clipped to the tube, and then the lifesaver has to swim to the finish while the manikin is dragged.

Mac Kay bettered the previous record by 2.3 seconds to set the new benchmark at 2:19.7 and came second overall in his age group at the championship. He will be heading to Egypt in December where he will be competing in the African Championships in Alexandria.
The Bloemfontein Central Lifesaving Club was also named as the best team, comprising boys and girls, in South Africa. – MORGAN PIEK