Southampton Town East Men Win Battle Of Southampton

Southampton Town lifeguards at the Mike Diveris Battle of Southampton lifeguard competition on July 18. Ron Esposito photo

The Town of Southampton-East men continued to reign supreme at the Mike Diveris Battle of Southampton lifeguard competition, which was held at Scott Cameron Beach in Bridgehampton on Thursday, July 18.

Just as they did last year, the East men had more first place finishes than their fellow male and female counterparts at the annual inter-beach competition that tests the guards’ skills in myriad events.

They won seven of the eight events that were competed, including the distance swim (Ryan Duryea), the distance run (Peter Schaefer), landline rescue (Jack Duryea, Joey Badilla, Casey Crowley, Skyler Loesch), surf rescue paddle relay (Loesch, Ryan Duryea, Christian Archer), board rescue race (Ryan Duryea, Christian Archer), and run-swim-run (Ryan and Jack Duryea, Joey Badilla). Casey Crowley beat out his younger brother, Aidan Crowley, for the second year in a row to win the men’s beach flags. 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 the West men, Ryan Duca, Tom Szalkowski, Connor Grauer, Tyler Davies, won the 4×100-meter sand relay. And Sarah Culver of the West women won the female beach flags event.

The competition was re-named “The Battle of Southampton” last year and pits east against west, with guards from west of the Shinnecock Canal squaring off against those from east of the canal. The event is preparation for the upcoming 33rd annual East Hampton Main Beach Lifeguard Tournament, set to begin this Thursday, July 25, at 4 p.m., in which one male and one female team from Southampton will compete. As of Monday afternoon, Sean Crowley said that captains of the teams had been picked, but the rosters had not been set just yet. Last summer, the Southampton women’s team took home first place in the landline rescue.

This year, the competition was broken up into eight teams: Town of Southampton East-men and women, a Town of Southampton-East men ‘B’ team, Town of Southampton-West men and women, Dawgpatch Bandits, which included guards from the town’s private clubs, such as Bridgehampton Club and Water Mill Beach Club, and lastly Rookies and Old Guys. Guards from the town’s East beaches hail from Sagg Main, Mecox, Scott Cameron and Flying Point, while the West guards hail from Ponquogue, Tiana and Pikes beaches in Hampton Bays and Westhampton Beach. There were over 60 guards competing in this year’s event.

The evening began with the captains’ meeting, which took on extra meaning this year after the event was named after longtime lifeguard Mike Diveris, who died in June (see separate story). John Diveris, Mike’s older brother, said a few words, followed by Paul Bass, who, at 59, was the oldest guard competing. Southampton Town Parks and Recreation Director Kristen Doulos also said a few words, as did head lifeguard Sean Crowley. Competition then got underway beginning with the distance swim and distance run, followed by the landline rescue, surf rescue (three-person paddle relay), board rescue race, a 4×100-meter sand relay, the run-swim-run and the crowd favorite beach flags.

This year’s Junior Lifesaving Tournament will be held Saturday, August 3, at 9 a.m. at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays. The program is for 11- to 15-year-olds, and runs for five weeks at four different beaches in both eastern and western portions of Southampton Town. The program 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. Also competing in the tournament this year will be the first ever Southampton Town class of the new Nipper Guard program designed for 7- to 10-year-olds, and which features many of the same activities as the junior program.

In an effort to support the Southampton Town Lifeguards in this year’s United States Lifesaving Association National Competition in Virginia Beach next month, a fundraiser will be held at Oakland’s Restaurant in Hampton Bays on Wednesday, July 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The funds will be used to send the team to Nationals. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for people under 21 or students. It will include passed hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.