The best of the best went head-to-head for 4 days in Virginia Beach last week. The United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard Championships had over 800 Junior Guards, Open Lifeguards, and Age Groupers who battled it out over a long, 4-day competition.
All of the Lifesaving Sport events simulate some facet of open water rescue. Some are directly related like the 400-meter swim, run-swim-run, 2K beach run, rescue board race, and the swim and rescue board rescue. The more grueling ones combine different events, like the American Iron Person, which involves a 300-meter swim, 600-meter rescue board paddle, and 1000-meter row in a 1–2-person surf boat. Same for International Iron Person which substitutes a surf ski (long, skinny, ultra-fast kayak) for the surf boat. Most of the events mirror the international standard, but a couple of races are specific to USA lifesaving history. The surf boat race is a nod to our past since most of us use jet skis these days. Same for the Landline race where a swimmer swims 300 meters out dragging a long line behind them to make contact with a “victim” which two other people drag to shore by pulling the line in with repeated sprints.
Galveston made its mark both with our Junior Lifeguard team and the adult lifeguard teams.
In one long, grueling day our Juniors went at it, and in typical lifeguarding fashion they and their adult counterparts made friends with the competition. They compared notes about beaches, programs, and rescue techniques, and had a great time. Some of our more significant finishes were:
Maddy Scott- 2nd in distance run, 3rd swim rescue, 9th paddle relay, 10th run-swim-run
Zoey Scott- 1st distance run, 7th rescue board, 6th swim rescue, 6th paddle relay, 5th run-swim-run, 3rd iron guard (run-swim-paddle), 6th distance swim
Ryan Pryor- 8th distance run, 7th beach flags, 9th swim rescue, 3rd paddle relay
Houston Pryor- 8th distance run, 4th paddle relay
Caroline Livanec- 8th beach flags, 4th paddle relay
Abby Hart- 4th paddle relay
For the next three days the big guards were up. We ended up with an overall 6th place in the mid-sized teams category, which was impressive with only 8 competitors and most of the points being made in age group events. Jacque Emmert was our standout, raking in points on both age group and open events. Standout performances included:
Mac Livanec- semifinals in open Surf Ski (big deal!)
Jeff Mullins- 4th in American Ironman and 16th in mixed open row
Peter Davis- 2nd American Ironman, 3rd Surfski, semis in open Surfski, 4th Beach Flags, 4th International Ironman, 5th Rescue Board, 6th Run-Swim-Run
Jacque Emmert- 9th open American Ironwoman, 9th open Single Surfboat, 2nd Surf Swim, 2nd Run-Swim-Run, 3rd Rescue Board Race, 5th Surfski, 2nd American Ironwomen, 4th 2k Beach Run, and a GOLD medal in the International Ironwoman
Congrats to our athletes and kudos for all the blood, sweat, and training that went into preparing. And a special thank you to our guards who stayed home and kept our beaches safe during a busy, busy weekend!