2018-08-02 / Front Page

East Coast Lifeguards Compete at Easton’s

By Ivy Richter


Clayton Hawes and Conor Nelson in the men's Run-Row-Run event. ABOVE: Mike Savettiere won the men's Run-Paddle-Run race. Clayton Hawes and Conor Nelson in the men's Run-Row-Run event. ABOVE: Mike Savettiere won the men's Run-Paddle-Run race. The Newport Invitational Lifeguard Tournament, held at Easton’s Beach on July 31 and Aug. 1, was a highly anticipated event for the east coast beach community.

“The event highlights lifeguarding skills, and practices lifeguarding techniques like seeing who can be the fastest to get a victim out of the water. The event is a lot of fun and everyone has a great time,” said Pat Wygant, Easton’s Beach chief lifeguard and event organizer.

Six teams, each made up of around 15 lifeguards from beaches all around the East Coast, traveled to Aquidneck Island to compete for the ultimate lifeguarding award.

“There’s a lot of good camaraderie; everyone gets together the evening after and goes and celebrates and has a good time, but during the tournament it is definitely very competitive and people aim to win,” said Wygant.


(Photos by Jen Carter) (Photos by Jen Carter) Walking along the beach on a summer’s afternoon and peering up at the lifeguards perched atop their towers, it might appear as if they get paid to bake in the sun and occasionally blow their whistles at rule-breaking children. However, before one can attain that rightful position on the tower, a lifeguard must become certified. Candidates must be 16 and complete the Red Cross-certified First Aid, CPR and AED lifesaving course, as well as the Red Cross-certified lifeguarding course to qualify for pool duty.

In order to work at beaches, one must pass the final test of a 440- yard swim, buoy and line rescue, and a paddle rescue. Lifeguarding combines skills in medical attention, physical fitness and endurance.

Participants in the tournament were engaged in 25 events, including running, swimming, kayaking, rowing and paddling. Each of the events highlighted crucial lifeguarding and lifesaving techniques, all incorporated in a race scenario where speed became the main objective. Teams, whose ages ranged from teenagers to adults, raced to win bragging rights, but to also have a great time and celebrate the effort it takes to become a lifeguard.

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