John Ryan Jr. reported on his and East Hampton’s senior and junior lifeguard team’s return from the national tournament at Virginia Beach, Va., this past week that the Bonackers, who were up against teams from California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Canada, New Jersey, and New York, not to mention Hawaii, had done well, “especially our 12 and 13-year-olds.”
That group was led by Chasen Dubs, who won two national championships, in the Ironguard (300-yard swim, 150-yard run, and 300-yard paddle) and paddleboard. The Ironguard competition is one of the toughest, if not the toughest event, in lifeguarding contests.
Two East Hamptoners, Max Bahi and Lila Ferraro, won gold medals in beach flags, and Maggie Purcell won the run-swim-run.
“She had finished fourth, fourth, third, and second in her previous events and was not going to be denied in the last one,” said Ryan. At the line, when I came up to her, she said, ‘It’s about time,’ and then collapsed. She’s a great competitor.”
Among East Hampton’s 12-13 runners-up were Evie Purcell in the distance run, Maggie Purcell in the distance swim, Dubs in the distance swim, and Isabella Swanson in Ironguard.
“She would have won had a wave not caught her coming onto the shore,” said Ryan. “She had to go back to grab the board. If that hadn’t happened, she could have walked to a first-place finish.”
The third-place finishers from here in the B (12-to-13) group were Margot Varrichio in beach flags, Isabella Swanson in the paddleboard race, and the swim relay team of Swanson, Olivia Brabant, Maggie Purcell, Caroline Oakland, and Dubs.
Further, Sophie Kohlhoff, in the 14-to-15-year-old division, and Bella Tarbet (who’s in East Hampton Village’s junior lifeguard program), in the 9-to-11 division, were national beach flag champions; Sophia Swanson was the runner-up in the 9-11s’ distance run; Paige Duca won a gold in the open 2K beach run, as did Craig Brierley in the 45-49 group; John McGeehan was the 60-64 runner-up in beach flags and (with Mark Myhre of Palm Beach) in the surf boat race, and Lucy Kohlhoff was third in the open beach flags contest.
As for the open relays, Ryan said that the team of Christopher Cinque, Patrick Mullin, Andrey Trigubovich, and Peter Johann had come from well behind to take fifth place in the 4-by-100 semifinal, thanks to Cinque’s anchor leg. In the open rescue race, he said, East Hampton’s Thomas Brierley, Trigubovich, Johann, and Sean Fosse-Greiner “won the first heat, but missed getting into the five-team final by one spot.”
Moreover, Amanda Calabrese, he said, “did well facing great competition,” doing “very well in the surf ski competition, finishing fourth with Lucy, Katrina Garry, and Paige in the 4-by-100 relay, placing sixth in beach flags, and 11th in Ironperson [contested by males and females] and in the board race.”
In all, said Ryan, “Our showing was quite impressive. You look at the other teams’ techniques and learn so that we can improve our training here. This kind of competition makes our organization so much stronger, more professional. You don’t get it any other way.”
As a result, he added, “When it comes time to make a rescue, our guards, by being in better shape, will be more successful.”