Inter-Beach Lifeguards Put To The Test

The annual Southampton lifeguard competition was named in honor of Mike Diveris, a leader in organizing lifeguards on the East End, who died in June. Independent/Courtesy Southampton Town

Mike Diveris means everything to Southampton lifeguarding.

The “founding father” of South-ampton Town Lifeguards, who died in June, was a leader to many and made the ocean lifeguards a professional organization. It was apropos that the annual lifeguard competition at Scott Cameron Beach be named in his memory.

The men and women who rule the beach were put to the test in lifesaving, running, and swimming events on July 18. In a repeat of last year, the East men had more first-place finishes than the East men and their female counterparts.

The men won seven of the eight events, including the distance swim (Ryan Duryea), the distance run (Peter Schaefer), landline rescue (Jack Duryea, Joey Badilla, Casey Crowley, and Skyler Loesch), surf rescue paddle relay (Loesch, Ryan Duryea, and Christian Archer), board rescue race (Ryan Duryea, Christian Archer), and run-swim-run (Badilla and Ryan and Jack Duryea). Casey Crowley beat out his younger brother, Aidan, for the second year in a row to win the beach flag competition. Both are the sons of Southampton Town Head Lifeguard Sean Crowley.

Elena Mugno of the West women won the female distance swim while Maura Kaine-Seitz of the East women won the female distance run. The West women team of Mugno, Quinn Banks, Cierra McKeon, and Mackenzie Mahoney won the female landline rescue while West men Ryan Duca, Tom Szalkowski, Connor Grauer, and Tyler Davies won the 4×100-meter sand relay. Sarah Culver of the West women won the female beach flags competition.

“These tournaments are a great opportunity to showcase our lifeguards’ skill and athleticism against neighboring lifeguard squads,” Southampton Parks Director Kristen Doulos said. “The competitions are tough, and each year we are very proud of the Southampton team who exemplify the outstanding guards we have protecting our beach-goers.”

Becoming a lifeguard in 1969, Diveris was the first town lifeguard to pass the Suffolk County ocean test. This ushered in the modern era of the Southampton’s ocean rescue group — everyone must now pass the grueling test to become an ocean lifeguard.

On the heels of the Mike Diveris Battle of Southampton 2019 competition, one male and one female team will compete in the Main Beach Tournament in East Hampton on Thursday, July 25, at 4 PM. Diveris was instrumental in encouraging women to join the team and compete when it was a predominantly male profession, coaching them in their first national competition. The Southampton women’s team took home first place in the landline rescue and sprint relay in East Hampton last summer.

Lifeguards will also compete at the Junior Lifesaving Tournament August 3 at 9 AM at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays. The popular program for 11-to-15-year-olds runs for five weeks at four different beaches in the eastern and western parts of the town and includes training drills designed to teach the junior guards to recognize the power of the ocean, how to spot riptides and other dangerous currents, and how to swim safely in the ocean. The first Southampton Town class of the Nipper Guard program — designed for seven-to-10-year-olds — will also compete, being featured in many of the same activities as the junior program.

To support the Southampton Town Lifeguards in this year’s national competition, a fundraiser will be held at Oakland’s Restaurant in Hampton Bays on Wednesday, July 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The funds will be used to send the team to the U.S. Lifesaving Association National Competition in Virginia Beach in August. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for those 21 and under. The event includes passed hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

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