By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Bella Taylor of the Wildwood Beach Patrol is a junior national champion twice over.
Taylor, a 16-year-old rookie lifeguard who hails from South Florida, won the ironperson (run, swim, paddle, surfski) event and the rescue board race at the United States Lifesaving Associaiton’s Junior National Championships in Virginia Beach earlier this week.
Taylor beat out seven other lifeguards, some hailing from as far away as California and Canada, to win the ironperson event.
Taylor also topped a 14-lifeguard field to win the rescue board race, again against a field of competitors from across the country.
Taylor was also second in both the ironguard and surf swim race and placed fifth in the run-swim-run event.
Diamond Beach Beach Patrol lifeguard Gavin Loughlin also performed well at the event. He placed second to Longport’s Joey Tepper in both the run-swim-run and the ironguard and also placed second in the rescue board race, one spot ahead of Tepper.
Taylor, Loughlin and Tepper are all under consideration for selection to the U-19 USLA International Team.