There is no secret how effective the lifeguard squads are up and down the beaches of Sussex County. Every year, the lifeguards are among the best in the business at keeping a watchful eye over the locals and vacationers as they enjoy some downtime.
However, that is not all that they do.
A strong contingent of guards recently participated in the United States Lifesaving Association’s National Lifeguard Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. The team from Sussex County placed third overall nationally, amongst some of the strongest competition in the country.
Sussex County finished with 713.322 points over all the divisions, trailing only Los Angeles County, Calif., and Monmouth County, N.J., who scored 892.752 and 841.832, respectively.
“It was a tremendous showing for our team in Virginia Beach,” Tim Ferry said on Thursday, Aug. 15, during the Sussex County Lifeguard Awards ceremony, held at Big Chill Beach Club. “We have some of the best guards in the country, and that was on full display during the competition.”
Emily Ruppert won the Open Women’s Beach Flags contest for the Sussex County team. Alexandra Santer put on quite a performance individually, accumulating the second most points over all the events, with 119.688.
The men’s team of Reed Tanasovich, Nathan Jones, Jason Kaiser and Mitch Sgro won the Open Men’s 4x100 Run Relay event. Joshua McIntire was the top individual performer points-wise for Sussex County with his 48.376 overall points, which was good for eighth place. Aidan Hopkins turned in a 19th overall finish, with 29.063 points.
The Sussex County finishers (and their placements) included:
• Open Women’s Surf — Alexandra Santer (3), Grace Hansen (10), Carol Zangla (12) and Miranda Johns (20)
• Open Women’s Run-Swim-Run — Santer (2), Sydney Kirsch (10), Hansen (11) and Johns (17)
• Open Women’s Rescue Race — Kirsch, Kathryn Giles, Johns and Zangla (9); Megan Perdue, Santer, Hansen and Cindy Fajardo (14)
• Open Women’s Board Race — Santer (2)
• Open Women’s Taplin Relay — Fajardo, Hansen, Santer and Perdue (7)
• Open American Iron Woman — Santer (6)
• Open Iron Woman — Santer (7)
• Open Women’s Surfboat — Santer and Fajardo (6)
• Open Women’s 2K Beach Run — Marlee Evans (2), Emily Ritter (4), Haden (7), Emily Trout (9)
• Open Women’s Beach Flags — Emily Ruppert (1), Katherine Noel (5), Perdue (7), Kirsch (11)
• Open Women’s 4x100 Run Relay — Ruppert, Hannah Venables, Santer and Perdue (2); Nicole Willing, Nicolette Phillips, Melaney Heald and Judith Johnston (4); Olivia Brozefsky, Casey Nixon, Kathryn Giles and Josie Nixon (5)
• Open Women’s Board Rescue Race — Santer and Hansen (4)
• Open Women’s Board Relay — Haden, Venables and Santer (5)
• Open Women’s Ironguard — Santer (3)
• Open Men’s Surf Race — Joshua McIntire (12), Caleb Vaxmonsky (18)
• Open Men’s Run-Swim-Run — McIntire (5), Vaxmonsky (16)
• Open Men’s Rescue Race — Dustin Venables, Aidan Hopkins, Josh Remaniak and Bailey Noel (6); Cooper Shawver, McIntire, Drew Mulachy, Declan Burke, Vaxmonsky, Ethan Haggerty and Michael Wesolowski (11)
• Open Men’s Board Race — McIntire (15)
• Open Men’s Taplin Relay — Hopkins, Remaniak, Sebastian Urbanec and Venables (9); Mitch McGee, Billy Swontek, Justin Voorheis and McIntire (14)
• Open Men’s Surf Boat Race — David Griffiths and Filip Hanus (13)
• Open Men’s 2K Beach Run — Tyler McCarthy (5), Burke (14)
• Open Men’s Beach Flags — Venables (2), Brendan Keane (7), Javens (9)
• Open Men’s 4x100 Run Relay — Reed Tanasovich, Nathan Jones, Jason Kaiser and Mitch Sgro (1); Swontek, Mulcahy, Shawver and McGee (2); Maximus Kohr, Keane, Javens and Regan (6)
• Open Men’s Board Rescue Race — Noel and Hopkins (2); McIntire and Vaxmonsky (6); Griffin McWilliams and Matthews Shiels (10)
• Open Men’s Board Relay — Noel, Hopkins and McGee (7)
• Open Men’s Ironguard — McIntire (3), Hopkins (11)
• Open Men’s Landline Rescue Race — Hanus, Hopkins, Remaniak and Venables (11).
During the Sussex Country Lifeguard Awards ceremony, each beach patrol honored their Lifeguard of the Year, with their captains presenting the award. The award winners were each voted upon by their respective squads for the award.
Winners from each beach patrol included:
• Bethany Beach Patrol — Chris Javens (Capt. Joe Donnelly)
• Delaware Seashore State Park — Ryan Swift (Capt. Kris Knutsen)
• Fenwick Island Beach Patrol — John Douds (Capt. John Rykazcewski)
• Middlesex Beach Patrol — Erin Haden (Capt. Justin Voorheis)
• North Bethany Beach Patrol — Shawn Temple (Capt. Zach Temple)
• Sea Colony Beach Patrol — Filip Hanus (Capt. Dave Griffith)
• South Bethany Beach Patrol — Maggie Ford (Capt. Ryan Dacey).
The evening’s festivities were hosted by the Bethany-Fenwick Island Chamber of Commerce, and were sponsored by several local businesses. A video reflecting back over the season was featured for the guards and guests in attendance.
By Jason Feather