By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Sporting competition on the beaches of South Jersey is about to ramp up.
The boys and girls of summer are back, and that means the South Jersey lifeguard race season is about to begin.
There are about two dozen competitions listed on the South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association schedule for 2018. It all begins this evening (Monday, July 2) in Cape May with the SuperAthalon, a run-row-swim triathlon that features only the top athletes from South Jersey beach patrols. That’ll start at 6:30 p.m. on Beach Drive and 2nd Street and will finish on the beach near lifeguard headquarters.
The first team competition is Friday, July 6, when Wildwood Crest hosts the Cape May County Lifeguard Championships. The format for that race will be new, with a handful of female-lifeguard-only events now a part of the competition. All 10 patrols from Cape May County are expected to send teams.
The first all-women’s competition comes next, when Longport hosts the Longport Women’s Invitational on Tuesday, July 10.
Some of the other top team competitions include the 50th running of the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Championships in North Wildwood on July 13, named in honor of two former North Wildwood lifeguards killed during the Vietnam War; the Dutch Hofmann Memorial Lifeguard Championships in Wildwood on July 27; the Margate Memorial Races on Aug. 3; and the South Jersey Championships on Aug. 10 in Longport.
Other unique competitions include the Upper Township Six-Mile Bay Race on July 23, the Cape May Point Women’s Challenge on Aug. 1 and the Bud Tarbotton Memorial Around The Island Row on Aug. 22.
Many of the lifeguard competitions draw hundreds — sometimes thousands — of spectators. The races often feature numerous high-level athletes, some of whom compete or have competed at the Division I college level or even professionally.
Many of the races included all 15 beach patrols in the SJLCA — from Brigantine to Cape May Point.
2018 SOUTH JERSEY LIFEGUARD RACE SCHEDULE
Monday, July 2 SuperAthalon Cape May 6:30 pm
Friday, July 6 Cape May County Championships Wildwood Crest 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 11 Longport Women’s Invitational Longport 6:30 pm
Friday, July 13 Beschen-Callahan Memorial Races North Wildwood 6 pm
Saturday, July 14 T. John Carey Masters Swim Ocean City 10 am
Sunday, July 15 Tri-Resorts Championships Sea Isle City 6:15 pm
Tuesday, July 17 Red Bull Surf and Rescue Races Atlantic City 5 pm
Friday, July 20 Atlantic City Lifeguard Classic Atlantic City 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 21 Sea Isle City One-Mile Ocean Swim Sea Isle City 11 am
Sunday, July 22 South Jersey Pool Championships Ocean City 7 pm
Monday, July 23 Upper Township Six-Mile Bay Race Strathmere 6 pm
Tuesday, July 24 USLA Mid-Atlantic Jr. Championships Wildwood 11 am
Thursday, July 26 Ocean City Women’s Invitational Ocean City 6:15 pm
Friday, July 27 Dutch Hoffman Memorial Races Wildwood 6:30 pm
Sunday, July 29 David J. Kerr Memorial Races Avalon 6:15 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 1 Cape May Point Women’s Challenge Cape May Point 6:30 pm
Friday, Aug. 3 Murph Mile Cape May 6 pm
Friday, Aug. 3 Margate War Memorials Margate 6:30 pm
Saturday, Aug. 4 Capt. Bill Gallagher 10-Mile Island Run Sea Isle City 5:45 pm
Saturday, Aug. 4 Pier-to-Pier One-Mile Ocean Swim Wildwood 6:30 pm
Monday, Aug. 6 S.J. Rescue Board Championships Brigantine 6 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 8 Capt. Bill Howarth Women’s Invitational Ventnor 6:30 pm
Friday, Aug. 10 South Jersey Championships Longport 6:30 pm
Friday, Aug. 17 Goudy Memorial Rescue Races Ventnor 6:30 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 22 Bud Tarbotton Around The Island Row North Wildwood 7 am