For a Day, Their Job is Fun and Games
Published: July 20, 2000 8:00 PM
By Sarah Hale. STAFF WRITER
The long, laboring “pull, pull, pull” strategy successfully
led the Smith Point lifeguard team through at least three early tug-of-war
But in the end, a quick jerk in the final showdown against the Southampton
team cinched Smith Point’s title as “Best Lifeguards” during yesterday’s third
annual Fire Island Lifeguard Tournament at Davis Beach.
“We always come out to win,” said Ron Kister, 24, an eight-year veteran of
the Smith Point team. “Why bother coming out if winning isn’t the goal?”
About 90 lifeguards from throughout Long Island vied in the six-hour
competition for the coveted championship title. The Smith Point team took home
the Fire Island Cup after earning a combined score of 151 points, beating the
second-place Town of Brookhaven North Shore Team by 21 points.
Although many of the guards maintained that the tournament was all in fun,
they couldn’t help but plan strategies, scope out the competition and do
warm-up stretches designed to give them the edge in the 13 land and water
events, which attracted a number of onlookers.
“Normally, there isn’t much to do out here,” said Suzanne Reussffengart,
who came to the beach with her husband, Bruce, and their two children,
Caroline, 6, and Tom, 3, from Manhattan. “I feel good about letting the kids
get in the water with all the lifeguards here.”
Seven teams competed in events ranging from a 1.2-mile ocean swim to a
two-mile run, allowing the guards to test their strength, endurance and speed.
All three of these qualities played a part in winning the women’s distance swim
for Amy DeWitt, who celebrated her 18th birthday yesterday by representing the
Town of Brookhaven South Shore team.
“I was hoping I’d win, but just hoping,” said DeWitt, who’s been swimming
since she was 10. “I was taking in a lot of water, and it made my stomach hurt,
but the win is a great birthday present.”
Winning didn’t matter for Erin Ingraham, 17, whose East Hampton team came
in last during the women’s run-swim-run relay.
“We just wanted to go out and have fun,” Ingraham said. “The tournament is
a chance for us all to just get together. We would have liked to win, but we
were happy we finished.”