Snell headed to New Zealand

Posted on 02 November 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Shannon Snell has not only made her mark locally as a junior lifeguard – she has competed at the highest levels.

At the end of month, the 20-year-old Snell and 2016 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School will represent the USA Open Team in the upcoming International Surf Rescue Challenge in New Zealand from Nov. 30 — Dec. 4.

Snell has been an Ocean lifeguard since 2016 on both the east and west coast of the United States, and prior to that was a Pompano Beach Junior lifeguard since the age of 9. During that time, she was selected to represent the United States Youth National Team in France in 2014. She also travelled to Japan and Australia the following two years.

Based on her performance at the United States Lifeguarding Association Nationals in Daytona Beach this summer, Snell earned her fourth invitation to represent her country.

When I was younger, I just did junior lifeguarding for fun, I didn’t think it would turn into a professional level,” said Snell, who is lifeguard for both the city of Ft Lauderdale Ocean Rescue and Miami Beach Ocean Rescue. “Back then it was a killer workout for the summer and now it is more mental, physical, more intense and more professional.”

I am super honored with all of the opportunities it has opened up for me in the sport. I have gotten to travel the world and meet people that I am still friends with today. It is just something that I never experienced and never thought would be such a big part of my life.”

Snell, currently ranked seventh in the Nation for Open Women, is self-trained and does distance running, swimming, weight training, yoga, stretching and concentrates on her nutrition to be a top flight athlete.

She also works 10 hours a day as a first responder, Ocean Rescue. At the nationals in the summer, she competed in 10 events and had 40-plus races during a three-day span that featured more than 1,000 lifeguards. She was fifth in Beach Flags and earned her overall ranking based on individual points through prelims, semifinals and finals.

Competitions involve everything from sprinting out of the water in the sand to paddling in overhead surf pounding your body; to simulated surf rescue races involving more than one person to surfsking a ski threw heavy surf.

Pool events also take place at the World Championship every two years, apart from swimming and rescuing an unconscious person (simulated as a mannequin) you have to pull to safety.

Looking back, I never pictured myself being where I am today,” Snell said. “With the help of my parents making sure I did the right things as far as training, I am very proud to be where I am and I couldn’t have done it without them helping me get through all of the tough obstacles.”

Snell said there are lifeguards who still compete at the age of 50. She sees herself doing this a couple of more years and then enlisting in the Coast Guard.

It has become a very mental and physical challenge because now you know what is important and the sacrifices you have to make in order to compete at this level,” Snell said. “I just want to race my heart out and make some memorable friends and meet up with some old friends who are going from other countries. I just want to have a really good time because New Zealand is someplace that I have not been, so I want to explore and see how their culture is.”

Snell has set up a GoFundMe page to help defray the cost of the trip since the United States Lifeguard Association covers nothing. For more information, go to www.gofundme.com/shannonsnell.

Ranse Classic this weekend

The Ranse Volleyball Classic Pro Am 2-man volleyball tournament is headed to Deerfield Beach this weekend (Nov. 4-5).

Last year’s tournament raised nearly $40,000 and the event is a blind draw grab bag event, with King of the Beach style of “pool play.” You will sign up as an individual, and then players are “picked” during the Friday night player’s party to determine what court they will be playing on to determine their division level (Open/AAA – OR – AA/A).

The cost is $53 for adults and $31.80 for juniors, and the registration is open until 6 p.m. Nov. 2. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/RanseVolleyballClassic or www.facebook.com/DigtheBeach.

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