The energy was high Thursday morning as the James P. “Mac” McCarthy Memorial Regional Surf Lifesaving Championships got underway in Flagler Beach.
In the first event of the competition, the open men’s surf swim, the Flagler Beach lifeguards made a splash when veteran guard Trevor Lowe ran out of the water crossing the finish line for a first place win.
“It’s awesome to let us know that we have people who can hang with the best of the best,” said Flagler Beach Captain Rodney Harshbarger. “You always wonder when Trevor crushes everyone, is he a big fish in a small pond? Or is he still a big fish when you put him in a bigger pond? But obviously, Trevor, best in the Southeast United States by about two yards.”
Harshbarger said that coming from a small beach patrol, there is usually big distance between guards while training. But competing against other agencies, when you have people one-inch in front of you and one-inch behind you, the level of adrenaline and the level of competition is raised.
The Flagler Beach team finished eighth in the overall competition and had 23 Top 10 finishers. The open men 4-by-100 run relay team won first place. The team members were Jay Subers, Jan Vicens, Lukas Stocker and Scott Hammond. The women landline team, which included Amanda Provenzano, Julie Concannon, Michelle Soltes and Emily Petkovsek, won third place.
More than 20 agencies from the Southeast Region, which includes Alabama, Florida (except for Duval and Nassau Counties, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, joined together for the competition, which was hosted in Flagler Beach for the first time.
“It means everything for us to host,” said Tom Gillin, recreation director for the city of Flagler Beach. “We find that with the lifeguards, it’s a good opportunity to share ideas about how agencies do rescues and talk shop a little bit.”
The 2015 Nautica USLA National Lifeguard Championships will be held Aug. 5-8 in Daytona Beach. Details can be found at uslanationals.org.