A pair of guards from the Hampton Lifeguard Association will be enjoying their Thanksgiving down under in Australia this week.Both Chasen Dubs and Ryan Paroz were both selected by the United States Lifesaving Association to compete on its youth and open squads for this year’s World Lifesaving Championships, which begin on Thanksgiving and conclude on Monday, November 26, in Adelaide, Australia. Lila Ferraro, another HLA guard, was also selected to the youth team with Dubs, but due to a knee injury she suffered a few weeks ago she will not be able to compete, according to East Hampton Town chief lifeguard John Ryan Jr.
While there are a number of international lifesaving events throughout the world each year, the World Lifesaving Championships are considered the Olympics or pinnacle of the sport and occur every two years. Half the events at Worlds are contested in the ocean, while the other half are contested in a pool. This will be the fourth time Dubs has competed internationally, the second year in a row he’s competed at Worlds. Paroz has never competed at Worlds. The two have been training for months, long after the summer has ended and both are excited to see what their training will lead to. Their coaches are as well.
“We are excited to see these select athletes compete against the world’s best youth teams, but more importantly come together as a team and proudly represent the U.S.,” USLA youth team head coach Casey Graham said in a press release.
Head Coach Tom McGibney remarked about the open team, “this collection of talent, and experience individually is outstanding, but together this group has the potential to be one of the U.S.’s strongest teams ever.”
Dubs, now a part-time East Hampton resident after moving to Florida full-time with his father, Christopher Dubs, has earned 13 USLA National Championships in various events at just 17 years old, but he’s also seen his share of success swimming competitively. He’s been on three different championship swim teams throughout his high school career and most recently competed in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 200 IM relay at the Florida State Swimming Championships, and helped Venice High School win its first ever state title in the 400 free relay. His strong background in the pool is where he’ll compete in most of the events at Worlds. That includes the 200-meter obstacle race, a 50-meter manikin (mannequin) carry, a 100-meter manikin carry and 100-meter manikin carry with fins. In the manikin races, the competitor swims the prescribed distance and then dives to recover a submerged manikin and must bring it to the surface within 10 meters of the turning edge. A bronze medalist in the 90-meter sprint at the 2015 ISRC in Moorychydoor, Australia, Dubs will also compete in the 90-meter sprint and beach flags, and being a four-year National Champion in the Ironman, he’ll compete in that event as well as the surf race swim, taplin relay, rescue race and board rescue.
Prior to leaving early this past Thursday morning to Australia, Dubs spent the previous five days in Honolulu, Hawaii, training and he’ll spend the days leading up to the first day of Worlds training some more while also meeting his teammates. Dubs also visited the University of Hawaii during his time on Oahu and hopes to one day attend the school and compete on its swim team.
Dubs said his goal is to place in the pool events for the U.S. “I’m going to go as fast as I can and at least try and get up there and place,” he said.
Paroz, 23, who is originally from Australia, will also be competing in a heavy number of events for the open U.S. team. In the pool, he’ll be competing in the 4x25-meter manikin relay, 4x50 obstacle relay, 4x50 medley relay, and Simulated Emergency Response Competition, or SERC, which tests the initiative, judgment, knowledge, and abilities of four lifesavers who, acting as a team, apply lifesaving skills in a simulated emergency situation unknown to them prior to the start. The competition is judged within a 2-minute time limit. All teams respond to the identical situation and are evaluated by the same judges. In the ocean, Paroz will be competing in the board race, ski race, beach flags, beach sprints, 4x100 beach relay, board rescue and taplin relay. His main events are the board race, where he is a two-time National Champion, the ski race and taplin relay.
Competing at Worlds has been a dream of Paroz since 2010, when the championships were held in Egypt.
“I’ve been training now for 11 weeks, and to be honest, I’m looking forward to racing and seeing how I go and compare to the rest of the countries,” Paroz said. “This year, after a seven-year hiatus from swimming, I decided to jump back into the pool and follow the black line. I’m feeling fitter and stronger than I have in the last couple of years. I think it can be from a couple of reasons. First, the family of Hampton Lifeguard Association, and especially the Calabrese family who invited me over last year to run workshops with the Junior Guards. They’ve motivated me to start training again and work hard. And also the squad I train with in Australia has the current Australian Ironwoman Lana Rodgers, Kelloggs Nurtri-grain Ironwoman Jordan Mercer, and future star of the sport Texas Dixon. I also train with ex-Olympic Gold Medalist Clint Robinson and Olympian Janelle Pallister.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported myself and HLA. I really appreciate it,” he added. “Having a great support network truly does make it a lot easier.”