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Aug 7, 2018 12:16 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton, East Hampton Town Lifeguards Pass The Torch To Junior Guards

East Hampton Town held its junior lifeguard tournament at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett this past weekend. KYRIL BROMLEY
Aug 7, 2018 3:51 PM

Perched in the main lifeguard stand alone, enjoying the bird’s-eye view instead of his usual role as organizer and facilitator, Sean Crowley, Chief Lifeguard of Southampton Town, surveyed the scene at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays on Sunday, August 5.Familiar lifeguards from the town were spread out across the sandy landscape, with clipboards and whistles in hand. But instead of training or making saves, they were giving back, and passing the torch to the next generation.

The torch that Crowley helps keep ablaze was passed on from current lifeguards to junior lifeguards at the annual Southampton Town Junior Lifeguard Tournament.

Competition was divided into two age groups: 11- and 12-year-olds and 13- to 15-year-olds, with the teams split into Team East and Team West. Team East was made up of guards from Mecox and Sagg Main beaches, while the West team included guards was from Ponquogue and Tiana beaches in Hampton Bays.

The tournament kicked off for both the 11- and 12-year-olds and the 13- to 15-year-olds with the distance swim and distance run. After the distance events, the two age groups separated. The 11- and 12-year-olds took to the sand for the pack strap event, which is a partnered, piggy-back style mock save.

The 13- to 15-year-olds remained in the water for the torp rescue and the paddle board relay. Both age groups finished off competition separately with the run-swim-run and 4x100-meter relay before all junior guards gathered in the roped off sand pits for the main event, beach flags, a musical-chairs style event that involves a sand sprint for small rubber tubes placed in the sand, where there is always one less tube than competitors.

Awards were given out post-performance for most improved, team leadership, “grinder,” and most enthusiastic.

East Hampton Town junior lifeguards also hosted their own junior tournament on Saturday and Sunday. With a showing of almost 300 junior guards, the tournament was broken up into three age groups. Group ‘A’ consisted of 14- and 15-year-olds, group ‘B’ consisted of 12- and 13-year-olds and group ‘C’ included 9- to 11-year-old guards.

Saturday’s events included the distance run, distance swim, run-swim-run, and groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ performed the land-line rescue before torrential rain left group ‘C’ to finish the following day. Sunday’s events picked up where they left off with group ‘C’s’ land-line rescue, then the iron guard event. Competition wrapped up with the paddle board relay, 4x100-meter sprint relay, torp rescue and beach flags.

John Ryan Jr., Chief Lifeguard of East Hampton, said everyone who participated throughout the weekend won, so there was no official scoring. However, he mentioned the grit of the junior guards competing in rain that fell sideways on Saturday.

The Hamptons Lifeguard Association will travel as one entity this weekend, August 9 to 11, to Virginia Beach for the National Lifeguard Tournament where the victor will be named United States Lifeguard Association National Champion and earn bragging rights to the safest beach, or beaches, in America.

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