By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY — Two past champions battled for top honors at the Cape May SuperAthalon lifeguard race Monday evening.
In the end, Rob Moran of the host patrol got by defending champion Tim Schwegman of Longport over the final minutes of the run-row-swim triathlon-style race to win for the second time in three years.
Moran, who posted a time of 45 minutes, 2 seconds, won the event for the second time in three years. He swam to the beach to rousing cheers from his patrolmates at the close of the race. He beat Schwegman, the champion in 2015 and 2017, by 38 seconds.
Moran, 29, a part-time lifeguard in Cape May who is also an attorney, is a seasoned athlete who competes in (and often wins) triathlons throughout the region.
The SuperAthalon is an individual competition that regularly draws only the elite among lifeguard race competitors. Each represented patrol can send just one athlete to the event, which includes a 2.3-mile run, 1.5-mile row and what is advertised as a quarter-mile swim but seems obviously longer.
Moran was in the middle of the pack after the run, passed a few boats in the row and then made his move in the swim. Schwegman, 32, was third after the run but first after the row, but couldn’t hold off Moran’s charge.
Brandon Hontz, a 19-year-old rookie lifeguard from Avalon, placed third in 46:08. The Penn State distance runner blazed to a big lead after the run, fell back to the pack in the row and then enjoyed a strong finish in the swim.
Ocean Beach lifeguard Michael Barrett was fourth in 46:32 and Randy Townsend of Harvey Cedars rounded out the top five in 47:18.
Twelve lifeguards competed in the event.
Moran is the 10th lifeguard to win the 37-year event twice. Bick Murphy, still an active lifeguard in Wildwood Crest, won the SuperAthalon a record eight times, the last time in 2005.