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19397155 10211101895798165 5810374475955120119 nShore Beach Service’s 20th annual Lifeguard Competition got underway on June 15th at Hilton Head Island’s Coligny 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.

 This year’s competition saw the introduction of one new teams and five returning teams. Returning for 2017 as captains were Scott Ohlson with his Public Beach Rebels, David Murphy leading the Palmetto Goons, Taylor Smith  going back to her 2015 moniker Tay Watch, and sophomore captains Zac Laffin and Luke McGowan commanding the Palmetto Bay Pirates and Dread Nauticals in the battle. The lone new captain was Julie Trodden, leading Tropic Thunder. 

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The competition commenced with the 400 meter Surf Swim.    Kayla Aitken, (Palmetto Bay Pirates/Evansville) snagged 1st, followed by Megan Strickland (Dread Nauticals/Arkansas), Maisey Kent (Tropic Thunder/Delta State), Liz Madison (Public Beach Rebels/Ball State) and Aitken's college teammate, Bridget Sheridan (Pirates/Evansville) finishing 5th.  The men's Surf Swim saw another Purple Ace swimmer winning with Isaac Devaney (Tay Watch/Evansville) taking the top spot.  Kevin Murphy (Tropic Thunder/St.Bonaventure) was 2nd, followed by Parker Whitley (Rebels), Vaughn Holmes (Palmetto Goons/Michigan State) and another Purple Ace swimmer, Matt Childress (Tropic Thunder/Evansville) in 5th.

The 2K Beach Run followed, and rookie Christieanna Apon (Tay Watch/Liberty) ended the 3 year win streak of Kristin Schmidt (Rebels/Merrimack), who finished 2nd.  Janae Banner (Pirates/Loyola,MD) finished 3rd, followed by Taylor Mastin (Rebels) and Ellie Crawford (Thunder/DePauw) in 5th.  Tian Siggins (Tay Watch) sped to victory on the men's side, outlasting, Tyler Crispen (Goons).  Andrew Fitzpatrick (Rebels) was 3rd, while Keegan Schlager (Goons)  finished 4th and Bradley Wilson (Pirates/ Wisconsin-LaCrosse) took 5th.  

Night two of competiton started 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, the top two spots were the same as in the Run-Swim-Run with Kayla Aitken 1st and Megan Strickland 2nd.   Liz Madison moved up a spot, taking 3rd, while Cassidy Langley (Tay Watch) was 4th and Maisey Kent 5thIn the men's event, it was Kevin Murphy taking 1st handily, followed by Vaughn Holmes, Bradley Wilson, Matt Childress and Tian Siggins. 

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Next up was the 100 Meter Dash.   In the women's race, Rebecca Gerner (Tay Watch) was a the favorite, but teammate Christieanna Apon pulled off another upset. Gerner finished well behind to take 2nd, followed by Cheyenne Polverine (Goons), Andie Heffelfinger (Pirates) and Kristin Schmidt.    Rookie David Black (Rebels) was 1st across the finish line for the men.  Bradley Wilson took 2nd, followed by Jacob Dummermuth (Pirates), Zach Toman (Rebels/Ball State) and Aaron Johnston (Nauticals). The captains then plucked their four best ladies and four best men  for the 4x100 Relay. The Tay Watch team of Rebecca Gerner, Cassidy Langley, Christieanna Apon and Jessica Scott cruised to victory, while  Palmetto Bay Pirates team of Bradley Wilson, Ben Ellis, Jake Dummermuth and Tim Wright were the mens winners.

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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. 

 Jessica Scott bested the Cheyenne Polverine, grabbing the last flag to take the 2017 Beach Flags title. Megan Strickland took 3rd, Gabby Barnet (Goons) was 4th and last year's runner-up Maddy Yemc (Nauticals) snagged 5th.  Jake Dummermuth defended his 2016 title, edging out Bradley Wilson.  Goons teammates Vaughn Holmes and Tyler Crispen took  took the next two spots, while Elisha Brooks (Nauticals) finished 5th.   

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With her 2nd place finishs in the Surf Swim and Run-Swim-Run, along with 3rd in Beach Flags gave .  Bradley Wilson's 2nd places finishes in Beach Flags and the 100 Meter Dash, 3rd in the Run-Swim-Run and 5th in the 2K earned him 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 third team championship in four years. Laffin's Palmetto Pay Pirates were runnners up again,  edging out the Palmetto Goons. Tay Watch finished 4th, followed by Dread Nauticals in 5th and Tropic Thunder in last.



2018 Team Results

Place Team Captain Points
1 Dread Nauticals Luke McGowan
2 Palmetto Bay Pirates Zac Laffin 1379
3 Public Beach Rebels Scott Ohlson 1375
4 Tropic Thunder Julie Trodden 1351
5 Tay Watch Taylor Smith 1215
6 Palmetto Goons David Murphy 1119





Past Team Champions

Year Team Captain
2017 Public Beach Rebels Scott Ohlson
2016 Public Beach Rebels Scott Ohlson
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

2018 Leah Dupre
2017 Megan Strickland
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

2018 Gabriel Miranda
2017 Bradley Wilson
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