Southampton Town Lifeguards ‘Battle’ It Out In Preparation For This Week’s Main Beach Competition In East Hampton

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A number of events were competed last week, including the popular beach flags. RON ESPOSITO

The Mike Diveris Battle of Southampton lifeguard competition made its much anticipated return this past Thursday, July 15, at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Casey Crowley helped the Southampton Town East Men to victory in the landline rescue. RON ESPOSITO

Sean Crowley, head lifeguard of the east side beaches of Southampton Town, said that after trying to put together a competition a few times last year, it became increasingly clear that it was eventually not going to happen, so it was nice seeing everyone back and in the competitive spirit last week.

Just as they did in 2019, it was Southampton Town’s East Men (six wins) and West Women (two wins) who prevailed at this year’s competition, which was well attended with guards from west of the Shinnecock Canal squaring off against those from east of the canal.

In addition to the town’s east men, east women and west women, members from Southampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue, Southampton Town “Old-Stars,” Southampton Village, West Nationals, Southampton Bath and Tennis, Quantuck Beach Club, Sand Dunes, Bridgehampton Club and Southampton Town West Rookies all competed.

Peter Schaefer in the lead of the first leg of the paddle relay. RON ESPOSITO

Elena Mugno of the West Women repeated as champion of the distance swim, followed by Jack Duryea of the East Men, Bella Mugno of West Rookies, Caroline Oakland of Southampton Village, Vincent Mullen of West Nationals and Evie Purcell of Southampton Village. Riley Corcoran of the East Men won the distance run, followed by Southampton Village’s Billy Malone, Quantuck’s Kyle Cropsey, Joe Zimbler of West Rookies, Griffin Schwartz of Southampton Village and Peter Schaefer of East Men.

The East Men won the landline rescue, with Jack Duryea as the victim, Ryan Duryea as the swimmer, and Casey Crowley and Chris Archer as the line pullers. Old-Stars placed second followed by the West Women.

Peter Schaefer, Ryan Duryea and Chris Archer led the East Men to victory in the paddle relay. Bridgehampton placed second and Southampton Bath and Tennis placed third.

Sag Harbor brothers Jack and Ryan Duryea of the East Men won the board rescue followed by East Men’s Joey Badilla and Chris Archer. West Nationals Kiley Kaiser and Bryan Schoerlin placed third.

Ryan and Jack Duryea come out of the surf in the paddle board relay. RON ESPOSITO

Jack Duryea, Casey Crowley, Riley Corcoran and Peter Schaefer led the East Men to victory in the 4×100-meter sand relay. Bridgehampton and West Rookies placed second and third, respectively.

Last, but definitely not least, was the crowd favorite beach flags. Casey Crowley of the East Men won the men’s side, having now won it six times over the past several years. Southampton Village’s Ray Sweeney and Quantuck’s Austin Hulse placed second and third, respectively. McKinley Scala of the West Women won the women’s flags, followed by Lizzie Knieriemen of the West Rookies and Alexandra Nobert of Sand Dunes.

Many of the guards who competed against each other last week now come together to compete in the annual East Hampton Main Beach Lifeguard Tournament, which is this Thursday, July 22. The distance run and swim events are expected to begin at 4 p.m., with the rest of the events expected to begin a little bit later at around 6 p.m., according to Sean Crowley.

The Town of Southampton held its annual Mike Diveris Battle of Southampton Lifeguard Tournament on Thursday, July 15, at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays. RON ESPOSITO

Both competitions prepare the Hampton Lifeguard Association for the United States Lifesaving Association Nationals, which are August 4-7 in South Padre Island, Texas. To help offset the cost of sending 19 guards to the competition, a Gofundme has been created at gofund.me/cfc6e762. As of Monday evening, over $4,200 of the $13,000 goal had been raised.

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