Pompano wins state lifeguard title

Posted on 15 August 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Gwen Bencie made the most out of her first year in the Deerfield Beach Ocean Rescue Junior Lifeguard program.

Bencie, 11, of Deerfield Beach, had spent her previous two years as a junior lifeguard with the Ft. Lauderdale program before moving to her hometown program.

She won the Girls C Division beach flags title, as well as the paddleboard championship, and placed third in the surf swim division in the second annual Florida State Junior Lifeguard Championships in Ft. Lauderdale recently.

“It is the first time I actually won beach flags,” said Bencie, who will be a Deerfield Beach Middle School sixth grader in the fall. “I was actually surprised, but really excited too. I never won beach flags before and the girls were really fast. I like junior life guarding because it is actually a lot of fun.”

Bencie said paddleboard is her favorite event. She’s captured nationals, regionals and states.

“Junior Life guarding has made me a stronger paddler and stronger in beach flags,” Bencie said. “It has also helped me learn about the water. They teach you how to rescue people.

Mike Brown, who heads the Deerfield Beach program, said the junior lifeguards get to see the other lifeguards from the other beaches and they may know them from school.

“We are proud to represent Deerfield and there is a lot of camaraderie there,” said Brown, who has been with the city for 15 years and headed up the program as its coach for the past six years. “A lot of kids, especially the ones who have never been a part of a team, accomplished something.”

Pompano Beach won the team competition with 1,240 points, while Ft. Lauderdale was second with 810 points. Hollywood and Deerfield Beach were third and fourth with 455 and 360 points, respectively, in the competition that featured nearly 150 competitors recently.

Other local double winners included Pompano Beach’s Sloan Sizemore (Run-Swim- Run, surf swim, Girls B Division); Pompano Beach’s Shane Shulte (Paddleboard, Run-Swim-Run, Boys C Division); Pompano Beach’s Kelly Shulte (Paddleboard, Surf-Swim, Boys B Division).

Individual winners included Pompano Beach’s Julia Schulte (beach flags, A Division); Glenis Carlson (beach flags, B Division); Pompano Beach’s Konnor Katzmark (Paddleboard, Boys A Division); Pompano Beach’s Race Wilhate (Run- Swim-Run, Boys B Division); Pompano Beach’s Clayton Adkins (Run-Swim- Run, Boys A Division).

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