The 35th Annual Women’s Lifeguard Tournament was held on Wednesday, July 31, with 267 competitors from 25 lifeguard organizations covering four states coming together at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J.
It is the country’s largest all-women lifeguard challenge, and local participants had a strong showing. Lifeguards from the Sea Colony, South Bethany, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach beach patrols were among the participating groups. Other teams from Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Maryland also competed.
The competition featured competitive events testing for stamina, skill and speed in areas of lifeguard work that included running, swimming, paddling an ocean kayak and rowing a surfboat. The events included a surfboard challenge, ocean kayak challenge, Ironwoman, surf rescue and more.
The Sea Colony Beach Patrol team cruised to the Division I tournament championship, with 142 points. That was 60 points better than their nearest competition, from Lavallette, N.J.
Hannah Venables, Megan Perdue, Grace Hensen, Kelsey Fowler, Marlee Evans, Alexandra Santer, Cindy Fajaido and Amy Venables were the “Great Eight” for the championship-winning Sea Colony squad. Santer was named the “Top Performer” among all Division I lifeguards.
South Bethany came in eighth place, with 36 points, in the Division I competition. Lexi Haden, Maggie Ford, Cailey Murphy, Christine Mountain and Emily Mountain were the participants for South Bethany.
In Division II, the Bethany Beach Beach Patrol came in ninth place, with 28 points, while the Rehoboth Beach patrol finished 12th overall. Bethany Beach was represented by Kathryn Greskovich, Lily Sandusky, Nicole Willing, Nikki Phillips, Katie Bole, Judy Johnson, Miranda Johns and Carol Zangla. There were seven women from the Rehoboth team, and among them were Lyndsay Taddei, Neva Richardson, Ana Villabona, Madison Schuler, Emily Ritter, Summer Sheats and Megan Culbertson.
Top performances for the locals in Division I included:
• Megan Perdue, Sea Colony — Beach Flags, 2nd place;
• Lexi Haden, South Bethany — Beach Flags, 6th place;
• Marlee Evans, Sea Colony — Distance Run Race, 1st place;
• Maggie Ford, South Bethany — Distance Run Race, 2nd place;
• Christine Mountain, South Bethany — Distance Run Race, 5th place;
• Megan Perdue, Sea Colony — Distance Race Run, 6th place;
• Alexandra Santer, Sea Colony — Ironwoman, 1st place;
• Hannah Venables, Sea Colony — Ironwoman, 6th place;
• Cindy Fajaido, Sea Colony — Ocean Kayak Race, 1st place;
• Alexandra Santer, Sea Colony — Run Paddle Run Race, 1st place;
• Hannah Venables, Sea Colony — Run Paddle Run Race, 2nd place;
• Marlee Evans, Alexandra Santer, Hannah Venables, Sea Colony — Run Relay, 1st place;
• Maggie Ford, Christine Mountain, Lexi Haden, Emily Mountain, South Bethany — Run Relay, 5th place;
• Grace Hensen, Sea Colony — Run Swim Run Race, 3rd place;
• Hannah Venables, Sea Colony — Run Swim Run Race, 4th place;
• Marlee Evans, Sea Colony — Run Swim Run Race, 8th place;
• Cindy Fajaido, Alexandra Santer, Sea Colony — Surf Boat Challenge, 1st place;
• Alexandra Santer, Kelsey Fowler, Sea Colony — Surf Rescue, 1st place;
• Cailey Murphy, Emily Mountain, South Bethany — Surf Rescue, 5th place; and
• Hannah Venables, Alexandra Santer, Hannah Venables, Sea Colony — Swim Run Relay, 1st place.
Top Performances for the local in Division II included:
• Emily Ritter, Rehoboth Beach — Distance Run Race, 1st Place;
• Nikki Phillips, Nicole Willing, Carolyn Kern, Kathryn Greskovich, Bethany Beach — Run Relay, 8th place;
• Carol Zangla, Bethany Beach — Run Swim Race Race, 8th place;
• Miranda Johns, Carol Zangla, Bethany Beach — Surf Rescue, 3rd place;
• Katie Bole, Carol Zangla, Miranda Johns, Bethany Beach — Swim Run Relay, 5th place; and
• Lyndsay Taddei, Megan Culbertson, Summer Sheats, Rehoboth Beach — Swim Run Relay, 6th place.
“The purpose of the event is to showcase female lifeguards and the growth of women becoming lifeguards,” said event organizer Carl Martinez, noting that being a lifeguard is still considered a non-traditional line of work for women.
The tournament has grown considerably since its very first event back in 1995. The first year showcased just 55 women, representing six lifeguard services from two states, and this year’s event roughly quadrupled that, with 267 women from 25 lifeguard services.
By Jason Feather