Lifeguards get a turn to romp at the shore
Published: July 25, 2005 8:00 PM
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO. STAFF WRITER
John Dunne is a pool lifeguard, not a beach one. But
the East Hampton team was short a competitor, so he was just going to have to
Dunne, 21, steadied himself on the sand. Six or seven others took their
positions. Then they all darted into the Atlantic Ocean’s cool, gray waters.
Minutes later, a strong current had pulled him in the wrong direction.
Someone on a water vehicle stopped him and told him to swim five minutes in the
“He’s getting killed,” one of his teammates said.
Not that the East Hampton team really expected to win. It had come to the
Long Island Ocean Lifeguard Championship at Smith Point County Park for more
than 10 years without a victory.
Team members didn’t imagine this year would be any different. The focus was
on the Rehoboth Beach, Del., team, which won last year, and Smith Point
lifeguards, who had won nearly every year before.
After everyone else finished, Dunne emerged from the choppy waters and made
a spirited jog toward his team’s post. “He’s still got heart,” East Hampton’s
coach Robby Lambert said. “The kid’s got heart.”
The annual competition is the largest and most important for lifeguards in
Long Island. Teams of 11 or 12 men from the same town compete in eight events.
Lambert said East Hampton’s lack of wins in the tournament isn’t a true
reflection of the team’s rescue skills. He said they made more than 200 rescues
last year and have some of the most dangerous areas to watch.
The Smith Point team won the tournament, with Delaware second. The East
Hampton team tried to be optimistic. There is still Thursday, when they will
host their own invitational against other Long Island teams.
They had lost that for nine years. Then last year, they won.(www.newsday.com)