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Pompano junior lifeguards enjoy successful summer

Posted on 01 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports090116By Gary Curreri

When it comes to the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguards, summer and surf equals success.

Team Pompano turned in stellar performances this year at the three Junior Lifeguard competitions – Regional meet in Hollywood, State meet in Fort Lauderdale and then the 2016 USLA National Junior Lifeguard Competition at Hermosa Beach, California.

Summer Schulte, 13, an eighth-grader at Pompano Beach Middle School, turned in a career-best performance at the recent National Junior Lifeguard competition. Schulte won four events in the B Group Division (12 and 13-year-olds) and placed second in her other event to pace Pompano.

Schulte won the Surf Swim (Distance Swim), Paddleboard, Rescue Relay and Ironguard and was just edged out at the line in placing second in the Run-Swim-Run. She said winning her first event – the surf swim – gave her a lot of confidence for the rest of the competition because she had never won that event before.

It felt really cool,” said Schulte, who was doing exhibition races with the junior lifeguards at age 8. Competitors need to be 9 to officially compete. “I didn’t think I was going to win that many (events at Nationals)…I learned a lot at this year’s camp and practiced in the California waters before the race so when I got to the actual race I knew which spots would work better. There were a lot of holes and the other girls were falling because they didn’t know where to go.”

The competition in California was difficult with approximately 4,500 Junior Lifeguards in Los Angeles County alone. Competitors from this county had to compete in a “prelims” event so that only the top competitors were able to compete at Nationals.

Notwithstanding, Team Pompano prevailed as National Champions in five events and Team Pompano won 25 medals at nationals (the top five finishers in each event earn medals). Team Pompano was the most medaled Florida team.

In the Girls B Division, Bella Taylor took first in the Rescue Relay; second in Ironguard, third in Run-Swim-Run and fifth in both the paddleboard and Surf Swim (Distance Swim). In the Boys C, Jake Schulte won the Ironguard was second in the Run-Swim-Run and was third in the Surf Swim (Distance Swim). Juliana Freire was fifth in the Distance Run and Alejandro Quinones took fifth in Surf Ski.

The “A” Division Swim Relay (Ronald Hache, Shane Schulte, Mia Marquez, Alex Marquez and Aaron Blanco) placed fourth, while the U-19 Swim Relay (Taylor Barton, Kelly Schulte, Alejandro Quinones, Ala Zielinski and Victoria Zielinski) was third.

We were up against the best of the best on their home turf and we did really well,” said Nemia Schulte, president of the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguard Association. She has been president for the past four years of the group and has five children in the program, including Julia Schulte, 20, who represented the United States in Australia (2012) and in France (2014).

Team Pompano, with 208 total junior lifeguards in the program, won the state competition by more than 100 points over runner-up Fort Lauderdale.

At the state competition, winners included Grace Parnas (paddleboard, beach flags and surf-swim) in the C Division; Jake Schulte in the C boys division with wins in the distance swim, paddleboard, run-swim-run; Bella Taylor (distance swim, paddleboard, run-swim-run) in the Girls B Division; Victoria Scarpinito won beach flags for Girls A group and third in ironguard girls; the Under-19 ironguard swim relay also won. The team was composed of Mattheus Santos, Kelly Schulte, Tyler Zuyus and Victoria Scarpinito.

Another strong performance at state came from the C Division Ironguard: Yvonne Lane, Jake Schulte, Reese Andres, and Grace Parnas, who finished third. Two brothers also did well at the state competition as Alejandro Quinones finished third in Paddleboard in the U-19 Division, while his younger brother, Christian Quinones (B Division) also came in third in both the beach flags and paddleboard.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jackie Nava, 13, won the B Girls Beach Flag event at both the Regional and state competitions. It is only her second year competing.

There is a lot of competition, but you just have to be more competitive,” said Nava, an eighth-grader at Westminster Academy. “This (program) teaches you that you have to be a good teammate and they support you. It is also good to win.”

Other top performances at regionals included: Shane Schulte (Pompano, Boys A), Alejandro Quinones (Pompano, Boys Under-19), Summer Schulte (Pompano, Girls B), Nicolas Calice (Boys B), Grace Parnas (Girls C), Reese Andres (Girls C) and Bella Taylor (Pompano, Girls B).

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