USLA Junior Lifeguard Championships, Daytona Beach, Florida

USLA Junior Lifeguard Championships, Daytona Beach, Florida

Lifeguarding is to most people “a job” but for us here on Lifeguard Times, lifeguarding is more than just a job that pays by the hour. It is waking up every day knowing you could run into water troubles and drown, yet you suck it up and show up to work because if you don’t protect the people… who will?

If the paragraph above sounded a little more like the stuff superheroes are made of, then you would agree with us that lifeguards are well and truly, superheroes. Only this time, they are not fictional characters with super human strength, speed or agility; they are real people whose only super power is their ability to navigate rough waters and a willingness to trade their lives for a total stranger if need be.

In similar fashion to the movies where we have superheroes convene every now and then for the greater good, Lifeguards in the United States also convene from time to time in the USLA National Lifeguard Championships.

This event is an annual event that features lifeguards from various states, regions, and counties in the USA, going head to head in contests aimed at making them better lifeguards. While this is a fun event, make no mistake… it gets really competitive.

Regions that finish tops in these events have reported a significant spike in the number of visitors who grace their beaches and ponds. Hence the event gets quite competitive.
This year’s event was held at Daytona Beach, Florida between August 10 and August 12, 2017… and the results are in!

Junior Lifeguards went head to head in several categories like

  • Beach Flags
  • Distance Run
  • Surf Swim Race
  • Ironguard
  • Board Race
  • Run-Swim-Run
  • Rescue Race JG
  • Swim Relay
  • Surf Ski
  • Rescue Race U19
  • Iron Person

The Beach Flags competition helps lifeguards practice their reflexes and beach sprinting.

The game is played by sticking a series of flags (typically short lengths of hosepipe) into the sand in a row. The competitors lie facing away (and face down) approximately 20 meters away. Upon a starting signal, the competitors race to the flags and try to grab one. The difficulty in the sport is that there are always fewer flags than there are competitors.

This year’s Beach Flags competition saw the Mid Atlantic regions come in on the top 3 of every category in the contest. The results from the events categorized in ascending order from C Division (Ages 9,10,11) to the U19 Division (Ages 16,17,18) puts Monmouth County, Hampton Lifeguard Association, and Jones Beach State Park as the best chapters in the Beach Flag Competition.

In the distance run competition which saw Junior Lifeguards categorized in ascending order from C Division (Ages 9,10,11) to the U19 Division (Ages 16,17,18) saw Chloe Kimes of the California State Lifeguard Association win the female U19 distance run competition. Aidan O’Gorman won the male U19 category.

The Mid Atlantic region once again made it to the top three in every category except the female U19 distance run category.

The Mid Atlantic Region is looking like the best place to swim this year as their lifeguards once again came in on the top three of every category in the Surf Swim Race except the female category of the A Division (14,15) which saw the SouthEast region represented by Junior Lifeguards Summer Schulte and Isabella Taylor of Pompano Beach come in first and second place respectively. The third and fourth place was swooped by Junior lifeguards Julia Foster and Katelyn Nimsky of LA County Surf Life Saving Association (Southwest Region).

Mid Atlantic however, took all top four places in the female category of the U19 Division Surf Swim Race. With Lifeguards Caroline Gmelich, Malia Wolf and Sarah Brennan, all of Monmouth County coming in on first, second and third place respectively. The fourth place Maggie Purcell is a lifeguard with the Hampton Lifeguard Association in the Mid Atlantic Region also.

The Run-Swim-Run competition is as its name gives away, a lifeguard competition where contesting lifeguards have to run a distance, then swim another distance and get back to running.

Once again the Mid Atlantic Region showed just how good their lifeguards were and perhaps their most notable statement came from the C Division female category of Run-Swim-Run which sees 9 to 11-year-olds go head to head.

Here’s what the table looked like:

Place Name Chapter
1 Mackenzie Brennan Monmouth County
2 Olivia Glaser Jones Beach State Park
3 Molly Cullen Monmouth County
4 Anelie Eng Jones Beach State Park
5 Parker Gmelich Monmouth County
6 Morgan Lee Jones Beach State Park
7 Sophia McLaughlin Jones Beach State Park
8 Lilia Blanco Pompano Beach
9 Madison Kang Jones Beach State Park
10 Reese Andres Pompano Beach
11 Hanna Matheson Jones Beach State Park
12 Carolina Condon Hampton Lifeguard Assoc.

But that’s not all…

Mid Atlantic Lifeguards Caroline Gmelich and Sarah Brennan, both of Monmouth County came in on first and third place respectively again in the female category of the U19 Division Run-Swim-Run competition. April O’Gorman came in on second place while Monmouth County’s Isabelle Pabon got fourth place.

Notable multiple winners are Junior Lifeguards Summer Schulte and Isabella Taylor of Pompano Beach who came in first and second place respectively yet again in the female category of the A Division (14,15) Run-Swim-Run competition. Katelyn Nimsky of LA County Surf Life Saving Association (Southwest Region) got third place.

It is safe to say the Mid Atlantics would have massive crowds to handle in the next vacation. Needless to say, the numbers say they are quite equal to the task!

Check our follow up post to see how the Senior Lifeguards fared in the 2017 USLA National Lifeguard Championships.

For future articles about lifeguarding related industry topics, visit www.lifeguardtimes.com

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