Lifeguard competition held in area

Country Club's team took home first place

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— The 2014 Sussex County Lifeguard Competition was held at Lake Mohawk Country Club’s Beach 1 Aug. 11.

Lifeguard teams from Lake Mohawk, Lake Lenape, Lake Wallkill, Paulinskill Lake and Lake Mohawk Pool all competed in lifesaving skill events.

The Lake Mohawk Country Club in cooperation with the Sussex County Aquatic Safety Coalition hosted this year’s event.

The competition is designed to bring Waterfront Lifeguards from the many aquatic facilities within the county to compete and demonstrate their lifeguard skills.

“And to have some fun and get together,” said Rich Carlson, Waterfront Director for Lake Mohawk CC. “Actually, this competition was Fran Smith’s idea. She planted the seed for this a few years ago. She loved bringing the lakes together.”

Smith was the longtime manager of Lake Mohawk Country Club and president of the New Jersey Coalition of Lake Associations.

Over 40 Lifeguards competed in events ranging from an Open Water 500 yard swim, one-half mile kayak race, rescue tube relay, paddleboard relay and backboarding.

Lake Mohawk Country Club’s Lifeguard team took first place overall taking home the “travelling” trophy. The winning team gets to keep the trophy until the next competition.

Chris Rudell, from the Lake Mohawk Pool, took first place and the gold medal in the Men’s Open Water 500 yard swim. Ryan Martin, LMCC and Jack Olsen, Lake Wallkill followed close behind for the silver and bronze.

In the Women’s race, Liz Smith completed the sweep for the pool by taking first as well. Jenna Kepniss, Paulinskill Lake, came in second.

The LMCC relay teams showed their speed and skill by taking first place in the Rescue Tube Relay and the Paddleboard Relay. Lake Wallkill’s team took second in both relay events. Paulinskill Lake took the bronze in the Rescue Tube Relay while the Lake Mohawk Pool took third in the Paddleboard Relay.

Sebastian Cook, LMCC, paddled to the gold in the Kayak race. Lake Lenape’s Luke Malvey took the silver and Grant Hagedorn, LMCC came in third. Liz Smith took another first in the Female division of the kayak race. LMCC’s Liz Zanetakos and Lauren O’Connor came in second and third respectively.

The final event was a spinal injury management scenario with shallow water backboarding. Here, each team starts out with the maximum points and gets deductions for technique, movement, victim handling, and team work.

All teams did well on this event so the deciding factor in tie scores is time. Paulinskill Lake’s team took first here, followed by Lake Mohawk Pool and Lake Mohawk CC.

Sarah Navarro, Aquatic Director at the Sussex County YMCA, was the head judge for the event.

“It was great. Everyone looked like they had fun but I’m sure they’re tired,” she said.

The evening event included a barbeque for the participants during the award ceremony. Sponsors for this year’s event were Lake Mohawk Country Club, Suspended Aquatics and Tulpenhocken Water Co.

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