Pompano junior guards enjoy success at states, nationals

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguard program once again proved its supremacy on the sand.

The program finished second in the state and then had several standout performers at the 2018 United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Championships at Virginia Beach.

The team prepared for the national event by competing in the USLA Regional competition in Flagler Beach and nearly two dozen junior lifeguards made the trip to Virginia, which featured about 400 competitors from around the country.

Pompano claimed nine national championships and also earned a plethora of silver and bronze medals. Among the locals claiming national titles were Isabella Taylor, who successfully defended her Ironguard and Paddleboard national championships and added the Surf Swim Race championship to her resume.

Raphael Santos captured national titles in the Run-Swim-Run and the Surf Swim distance race.

Summer Schulte won a gold medal in the Run-Swim-Run event, while Grace Parnas won gold in the Board Race, and teammate Reese Andres won national championships in the C Division for the Ironguard and the Board race.

At the state competition, Santos, 15, led a 1-2-3 sweep for Pompano in the ocean swim event. He’s competed for the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguard program for the past four years.

I just started liking it a lot more,” said Santos, a sophomore at Pompano Beach High School. “It has helped me with ocean swimming in general. I swim in the pool, and in the ocean, it is like two different things. When I go to the junior lifeguard training, it is like a whole different environment and it is like better off.”

Santos said he likes to compete but added learning about the ocean is also a nice add on for the summer program.

It is pretty interesting,” said Santos, who finished sixth at state last year in both of his events — 200 IM and 500-free during the high school season. “You can be swimming in a pool, but in the ocean, you can be swimming out and the next thing you know you are drifting past the buoy. You have to know how to swim towards the current a little bit to keep straight swimming. There are no lane lines out here or flags.”

Pompano Beach’s Alex Marquez, 16, was runner-up to Santos in the swim event. He is also a teammate of Santos’ at Pompano Beach High School where he is a junior. He’s been with the Pompano Beach Junior lifeguard program since he was nine. Marquez placed third in Ironguard at Nationals.

I am a swimmer originally, so I like anything with swimming in it,” Marquez said. “This has helped me a lot, especially with discipline. It felt really good to sweep the event. It is nice to know when you are ahead. The top 10 people here are all on the same team, even though we might be on different teams at the swimming pool. It was kind of fun to swim against them. It is bragging rights for sure.”

Trio wins scramble golf event

Joel Englander, Bill O’Brien and Willie Smith took top honors with a 68 after a match of cards to win the three-man scramble for the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association at the Pines Course at Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Club.

Finishing second was Chuck Brown, Jim Foster, and Dave Dowling, also with a 68. They shot 36 on the back nine while the winning group carded a 34 for the back nine in the August 28th tournament. George Disch, Lee Hammer and Bart Valerio finished in third with a team total of 69.

Dennis Sejda struck his tee shot within 7-ft., 7 in. on the 15th hole to win Closest to the Pin honors.

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