High-performance lifesavers back in water and on beach

Lifesavers in the Western Cape are shaking off the Lockdown rust brought about by Covid-19 and the subsequent ban on sport. The top athletes are back at training, says Christine Kennedy, chairperson of Lifesaving Cape Town – a member of the Cape Town Sport Council

Christine is in her second year as chairperson and says despite the hardships the pandemic has brought, she was optimistic that lifesaving will be up and running at all cylinders soon.

She says all the clubs were closed during lockdown and the lifeguards could not train or do their duties. Fortunately, it is the off-season now and the lockdown mainly affected training.

Training for the competitions normally starts around August and at the end of October the first competitions take place. However, at the moment there are no competitions scheduled because of Covid-19.

Clubs who are Covid-19 compliant and adhere to all the rules and regulations as stipulated by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture are allowed to open up and start training. Some clubs are open and are training while others are not.

Lifesaving SA have submitted the documents for a return to play and they are still awaiting feedback from government. Training is permitted though, and the high-performance athletes are back. The annual re-testing of lifeguards has also started.

Every year lifeguards have to be tested for things such as fitness levels, board rescue and CPR protocols and between 800-900 tests are being done.

The lifesaving season starts the 1st weekend of November until the last day of the Easter weekend and the competitions are spread out during that period. The national championships were supposed to take place in Port Elizabeth this year at the end of March and the beginning of April but was cancelled.

Lifesaving clubs, who are reliant on donations from members of the public or are self-funded, feel the financial strain. Christine says running a lifesaving clubs is a costly affair and Covid-19 puts even more financial pressure on them, as it costs money to sanitise and screening equipment is expensive.

But she says she was confident that they would be able to carry on, as they are one movement and will help each other to get through this.

For more information about lifesaving in Cape Town, visit http://www.lifesavingwp.co.za/