Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association's (LACOLA) surf racing team continued their legacy this year when they took home their 26th consecutive United States Lifesaving Association's (USLA) National Lifeguard Championship (Nationals)! Despite the Championship returning to Cape May, New Jersey for a second consecutive year and bringing a much smaller team, it made no difference. Our team successfully defended their title and eked out a win against the host team, Monmouth County, New Jersey by 16.5 points (630-613.5) with Sussex County, Delaware in third with185 points. Since this competition began in 1970, our lifeguards have swam, ran, rowed, skied and paddled their way to top, taking the overall Division A team title an amazing 39 times.
The Nationals are always extremely competitive and this year was no exception. More than 500 professional lifeguards from around the country turned out to compete in individual and team events that are designed to challenge the competitors' lifesaving skills that include swimming, running, paddling, surf ski paddling and surfboat rowing. The lack of home field and less team members (14 less than in 2011) did not affect our overall title win, nor did it affect our individual wins either. Six members of our team, including two men and four women, placed in the Open Division top 10 point scores. Ocean Lifeguard (OL) Taylor Spivey was Open Women's overall individual title.
OL Tandis Morgan, OL Renee Locarnini, and OL Coral Kemp followed in 4th, 8th and 9th places respectively. OL Brian Murphy took second place in the Men's Open overall title with Ocean Lifeguard Specialists Tyler Morgan in 6th place.
Our age group (over age 30) competitor's individual event points and our team relay event points proved to be the difference to clinch this year's overall title. "Never in the history of the L.A. County Lifeguards and Lifeguard National Championships has so many, owed so much, to so few," said Lifeguard Chief Mike Frazer. "Of course, the 'many' are all the LA County Lifeguards, and the 'so few' were all the gallant warriors that competed in every event possible. The team's performance was remarkable and the best team performance in our illustrious history. To beat Monmouth on their home turf with only 37 competitors is nothing short of amazing! Words can't express how proud we all are of the 2012 National Champion team!"
Congratulations to our lifeguard team who once again proved that they are the best lifeguards in the entire nation! To find out more about USLA or the Nationals, please visit http://www.uslanationals.org. (Gallery photos by Leonard Koike)