HUNTINGTON BEACH (July 14, 2010)”The United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard Championships will see more than 1,000 lifeguards and junior lifeguards from across the country, compete for individual and team honors, Aug. 5-7 at Huntington State Beach.
The three-day competition, hosted by the Huntington State Beach Lifeguard Association (HSBLA), will be held at Huntington State Beach at Beach Blvd. and Pacific Coast Highway and admission is free of charge. For more information, visit www.uslanationals.org.
Professional Lifeguards ranging in age from 17 to 75 years-old and Junior Lifeguards from ages 9-17 will be competing in water and beach course events that challenge their lifesaving skills in a myriad of events from surf swims to beach runs; paddleboards to surf boats. A few of the highlights include the Landline Rescue Relay, Ironman and Ironwoman events and Beach Flags, “the fastest event on sand.
“This is the granddaddy of all lifeguard competitions bringing the best of the best from across the country, said Ed Zebrowski, Competition Committee Chair for the USLA.
“It’s a fun-filled three-days of action with competition and sponsor booths at one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. And it’s free to the public.
Spectators will see something special. “The National Lifeguard Championships is a unique athletic event showcasing aquatic safety professionals and the techniques they use everyday, said B. Chris Brewster, President of the USLA. “These skills save lives.
Beach lifeguard agencies reported over 80,000 rescues from drowning last year, 55,000 of them in Southern California alone.
The men and women will compete over two days on Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7. All competitions begin at 8 a.m. and run until the end of the day.
The Junior Guards are participants in programs conducted by local lifeguard agencies affiliated with the USLA and represent the future lifeguards for cities and counties. The Junior Lifeguard competition will be held on Thursday, Aug. 5 and will involve four divisions”AA Division for 16-17 years of age, A Division for 14 and 15 year-olds, B Division for 12 and 13 year-olds and the C Division for 9 through 11 years of age.
Last year’s competition was held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and the men’s overall winner was Matthew Nunnally of Monmouth County Chapter, New Jersey with 60.5 points.
Brian Murphy of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association was second at 53.5 points. Tracey Crothers won the female overall title representing the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association with 42 points, just beating Mindy Nowviskie of Volusia Surf Lifesaving Association (Daytona Beach, FL), who was just a half a point back.
The Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association earned the Large Chapter Team title with 589 points marking the 23rd consecutive year they have walked off with top honors.
Monmouth County Chapter New Jersey was second with 487 points, Volusia Surf Lifesaving Association was third at 238 points, Sussex County Delaware was fourth at 225.25 points and Miami Beach finished fifth at 75.75 points.
The Small Chapter team title went to Fort Lauderdale with 261.5 points followed by Smith Point, NY at 225.25 and Boca Raton in third at 92.25.
Since the competition began in 1970, the Los Angeles County Lifeguards have won the team title 36 times. The California State Parks team won the title three times and the only time the team title has left California was in 1983 when Monmouth County, New Jersey earned the honors.
The first National Lifeguard Competition under the USLA banner was held in San Diego in August of 1980, bringing members of the various chapters from around the national to compete. There are now more than 100 chapters of USLA, each affiliated with local lifesaving services and beach patrols, and composed of employees of these organizations.
The National Lifeguard Championships are held on alternating coasts each year. Next year’s event will take place in August in Cape May, New Jersey.
Lifeguard competition in the US owes its heritage to the Surf Lifesaving competitions in Australia. The first national competitions in the US were organized by the Surf Life Saving Association of America. In 1965, the organization became national as the NSLSA and the first competition between coasts was held in 1967. The NSLSA later became the USLA and the first National Lifeguard Competition was held in 1980.
The United States Lifesaving Association (www.usla.org) is America’s nonprofit professional association of beach lifeguards and open water rescuers. USLA works to reduce the incidence of death and injury in the aquatic environment through public education, national lifeguard standards, training programs, promotion of high levels of lifeguard readiness, and other means.