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IMG 4692 0855 edited-1 760x800Shore Beach Service’s 19th annual Lifeguard Competition got underway on June 16th at Hilton Head Island’s Islander's Beach Park. Each summer the Beach Patrol supervisors, who act as the team captains, draft teams that are made up of the entire staff. The competition rewards teamwork along with recognizing individual excellence. Every lifeguard in the competition receives team points in correlation to the place that the lifeguard finishes the event. A top-five finish earns that lifeguard individual points that are tallied to crown the overall women’s and men’s champion. The individual points are also used to create a regional competition team. The competition is scheduled as a three-night affair. In each event, the women and men compete separately, with the exception of the 4 X 100 Relay.


This year’s competition saw the introduction of two new teams and four returning teams. Returning for 2016 as captains were Scott Ohlson with his Public Beach Rebels, David Murphy leading the Palmetto Goons and Hannah Quast with her 10-10 Club. 2015's winning captain Taylor Smith tempted fate by renaming her winning team Los Tiburones (formerly Tay Watch).  Rookie captains Zac Laffin and Luke McGowan hoped to make it two years in a row of first-year captains winning, bringing the Palmetto Bay Pirates and Dread Nauticals to battle. 


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The lifeguard competition commenced at with the Run-Swim-Run, which consists of a 200 meter run along the edge of the water, followed by a swim of 300 meters before coming ashore to run the final 200 meters. On the women’s side, Dread Nautical's star Hope Andrews defended her 2015 title, taking 1st place.  Delta State University teammates Chloe Bennett (Pirates) and Maisey Kent (Los Tiburones) placed 2nd and 3rd.  San Antonio natives Megan Strickland (Goons) and Kayla Aitken (10-10) rounded out the top five. In the men's event, it was Dread Nauticals' Vaughn Holmes taking 1st handily, followed by Max Koch (Pirates) Kevin Murphy (10-10 Club), Kevin Fries (Rebels) and Tian Siggins (Goons). 


Next up was the 100 Meter Dash.   In the women's race, Los Tiburones' Rebecca Gerner was a the heavy favorite, and she did not disappoint as she absolutely crushed the rest of the field.  Talia Booher finished well behind to take 2nd, followed by Hope Andrews, Kristin Schmidt (Pirates) and Laine McIntyre (10-10).    Zach Aller was first across the finish line for the men, making it a sweep in the 100 for Los Tiburones.  The Rebels' Kevin Fries looked to be making it a photo finish, but face planted about 10 meters short of the finish line. Vaughn Holmes took advantage of the fall, taking 2nd.    Aaron Johnston (Goons), Andrew Fitzpatrick (Rebels), and Jacob Dummermuth (Tiburones) followed. The captains then plucked their two best ladies and two best men and devised strategy for the 4x100 Relay. Dread Nauticals team of Jenna Sheeran, Hope Andrews, Zach Weima and Vaugh Hoklmes sped to a victory, edging out the 10-10 Club.


IMG 4656 0819 edited-2 730x800The second night of the lifeguard competition took place at Coligny Beach Park.    The night kicked-off with the 400 meter Surf Swim.  The women's top four had the same names as the Run-Swim-Run, but in a different order.  Maisey Kent snagged 1st, followed by Megan Strickland, Chloe Bennett, an Hope Andrews,  The only new name in the top five was the Rebels' Julie Trodden finishing 5th.  The men's Surf Swim had the same top five as the Run--Swim-Run, but just slightly juggled. Vaughn Holmes made it a sweep of the swim events, outlasting Kevin Murphy for 1st.  Kevin Fries grabbed 3rd, followed by Max Koch and Tian Siggins.

The 2K Beach Run followed, and it was no surprise that the Pirates' Kristin Schmidt raced to victory for the third straight year.  Rebel teammates Cassidy Langley and Talia came behind in 2nd and 3rd.  Jenna Sheeran finished 4th and Ellie Crawford  nabbed 5th.  Los Tiburones' Jacob Dummermuth sped to victory on the men's side, outlasting , Andrew Fitzpatrick.  A pair of Goons, Tyler Crispen and Tian Siggins followed in 3rd and 4th while Max Koch took 5th.   


With only one even left  it was clear that if they wanted to repeat, Smith'sTiburones would need a miracle to catch the Public Beach Rebels, but rookie captain Laffin and his Pirates were right on their heels.  Dread Nauticals were the only other squad with a realistic chance.

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The grand finale of the lifeguard competition is the biggest crowd pleaser -Beach Flags.  The event is held in an area  that is 10 yards wide by 25 yards long. The lifeguards start lying prone in the sand with their feet facing the flags. The flags are actually cut pieces of a garden hose each about a foot long. When the whistle blows the guards erupt from their position and race across the sand to grab a flag. There is always one less flag than there are competitors, so one guard is eliminated at the end of each round. Through the process of elimination you get down to the most exciting few seconds of the entire competition. Two lifeguards, one flag.


 Rebecca Gerner bested the Rebels' Maddy Yemc, grabbing the last flag to defend her 2015 Beach Flags title. Dread Nauticals teammates Hope Andrews and Jenna Sheeran took 3rd and 4th while Caroline Slay was 5th for the Goons. Public Beach Rebels Taylor Mastin, Elaine Hemmelgarn and Kristin Schmidt rounded out the top five. Los Tiburones also snagged the victory on the meh's side, with Jacob Dummermuth diving to take the last flag before former champ Ryan Smith of the 10-10 Club.Rebels Andrew Fitzpatrick and Kevin Fries took 3rd and 5th while Drew William of the Goons finished between them in 4th


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The 1st place finish in the Run-Swim-Run, along with 3rd in Beach Flags, 3rd in the 100 meter dash and 4th in the Surf Swim gave Hope Andrews her second consecutive Women’s Overall Champion title.  Vaugh Holmes 1st places finishes in the Surf Swim, Run-Swim Run and 2nd in the 100 Meter Dash allowed him to run away with the Men’s Overall Champion title.


When team points were tallied, the Public Beach Rebels' strong performance accross every event gave captain Scott Ohlson his second team championship in three years. Laffin's Palmetto Pay Pirates fell just 45 points behind.  Rookie Luke McGowan's Dread Nauticals were 3rd, with Los Tiburones were 4th, 10-10 Club 5th and Palmetto Goons in last.



2016 Team Results

Place Team Captain Points
1 Public Beach Rebels Scott Ohlson
2 Palmetto Bay Pirates Zac Laffin 1621
3 Dread Nauticals Luke McGowan 1450
4 Los Tiburones Taylor Smith 1422
5 10-10 Club Hannah Quast 1288
6 Palmetto Goons David Murphy 1240


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Past Team Champions

Year Team Captain
2015 Tay Watch Taylor Smith
2014 Public Beach Rebels Scott Ohlson
2013 Lagerheads Jerry Staub
2012 Bird Street Brawlers Scott Ohlson
2011 Team Spicoli Dan Condell
2010 Palmetto Mafia Kjell Pederson
2009 Palmetto Mafia Kjell Pederson
2008 Palmetto Mafia Kjell Pederson
2007 Team Spicoli Dan Condell
2006 Riot In Progress Susie Duke
2005 Riot In Progress Mike Wagner
2004 Singleton Beach Bandits Adam King
2003 Team Spicoli Dan Condell
2002 Team Tropical Storm Phil Vermette
2001 BOHICA Becky Caggioni

Women's Overall Champions

2016 Hope Andrews
2015 Hope Andrews
2014 Taylor Smith
2013 Taylor Smith
2012 Maura Donahue
2011 Sara Bloom
2010 Kelli King
2009 Kelli King
2008 Meghan King
2007 Cari Heckert
2006 Lauren Buck, Kelli King, Meghan King
2005 Kelli King
2004 Elise Thornell
2003 Hannah Fraser
2002 Linda Spencer
2001 Hannah Fraser
2000 Claire Halloran
1999 Erin Ferrell
1998 Janci Smith

Men's Overall Champions

2016 Vaughn Holmes
2015 Zac Laffin
2014 Jordan Bantista
2013 Jordan Bantista
2012 Greg Kohler
2011 David Humphrey
2010 Dan Gorman
2009 Dan Gorman
2008 Dan Gorman
2007 Justin Carver
2006 Justin Carver, Charlie Knapper, Andy Motlis
2005 Justin Carver
2004 Justin Carver
2003 Garrett Kelly
2002 Brad Jones
2001 Mike Dull
2000 Sean Connolly
1999 Travis Gay
1998 Dan Condell