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SCBP captures USLA Mid-Atlantic Regional championship

Lexi Santer, pictured here in 2021, came home from this year's national lifeguard championships with another slew of top finishes.

The Sea Colony Beach Patrol won the 42nd annual USLA Mid-Atlantic Regional championship. The squad competed on Wednesday, July 12, in “non-craft” events involving swimming and running competitions in Rehoboth Beach. They also competed on Wednesday, July 19, in Long Branch, N.J., for ocean-craft events that included paddleboards, surf-skis and rowboats.

The regional competition serves as a qualifying event for the United States Lifesaving Association National Competition Nationals, which will take place this year in Virginia Beach, Va., on Aug. 10-12.

“The victory in regionals was the result of our patrol’s versatility, depth, and hard work,” said SCBP Lt. Cindy Fajardo. “There are so many different events. You need to have a good balance and be able to compete in them all, which can be challenging for a small patrol like ours. We scored in almost every event possible. Our guards work hard, coming in before going on the stand and staying after their shift is completed in order to train for specific events.”

The SCBP was the beneficiary of outstanding achievements in both individual and team competition.

SCBP individual event standouts

Individually, lifeguard Lexi Santer earned first place finishes in six events — the surf-swim, run-swim-run, board race, Ironwoman, American Ironwoman and the surf-ski.

Patrol Capt. David Griffith earned a first-place finish while competing with another patrol. Lifeguard Elizabeth Fry posted three second-place finishes, in the 400-meter surf-swim, the run-swim-run and the Ironwoman.

Fajardo placed second in the solo row and the surf-ski, and Dan Casey earned a third-place finish in the surf-ski.

Marlan McElroy finished third in the run-swim-run event.

Megan Perdue placed fourth in the 90-meter spring and fifth in beach flags. Hunter Bondurant finished 11th in the 2K run.

Grace Hansen placed fourth in the board race, and fifth in the run-swim-run, surf-ski and Ironwoman.

SCBP team event standouts

The SCBP also contributed to its regional title with impressive performances in team competition.

The women’s paddle-rescue duo of Elizabeth Fry and Hanson placed first, while Kelsey Fowler and Santer were third.

In the women’s Taplin relay, the trio of Hanson, Fajardo and Fry won the competition. Those three ladies also placed second in the women’s board relay. In the women’s swim-rescue race, the quartet of Perdue, Hanson, Fry and Amy Venables combined to earn a second-place finish.

The duos of Fry and Fajardo, along with Venables and Perdue, finished third in the women’s doubles row and the sprint relay, respectively.

The swim rescue race quartet of Matt Clark, McElroy, Hunter Bondurant and Casey contributed a second-place finish.

The landline team of Fowler, Fry, Venables and Hanson finished fifth. Also finishing fifth was the co-ed row duo of Griffith and Fajardo.

The men’s landline team of Matt Clark, McElroy, Bondurant and Casey placed sixth.

“It’s hard to narrow down individual performers, because it’s such a great team effort.,” said Fajardo. “Grace Hansen, Elizabeth Fry and Megan Perdue had stellar performances. Marlan McElroy had one of his best races, and Lexi Santer always does really well in these competitions. We did have a couple of first-time appearances, from Kelsey Fowler and Hunter Bondurant.”

Fajardo said the competitions make every participant a better lifeguard.

“We learn how to perform faster, with new techniques, different equipment and good old-fashioned head-to-head competition,” she said. “All of these components teach us to get to the victim the fastest way possible. However, at the end of the day, it’s about the camaraderie. The ocean lifeguards in Sussex County are a tightly-knit crew. We admire, respect and care for each other immensely.”

Article by Jason Feather, Coastal Point, July 27, 2023


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