2001 in Review:

July 11

New Look for B-C Race Friday

Staff Writer

While the subtraction of Cape May from this year's Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races has broken a long tradition of the competition, the addition of four new beach patrols to the event has added new excitement.

Friday night's Beschen-Callahan races, hosted by North Wildwood, now feature seven beach participate. They'll join host North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, all of whom have been participants since the race's inception in the late 1960s.

The events of the race, which have not changed from last year, are the doubles row, box swim, surf dash relay, run/swim, singles row, two-mile run and can run.

The one aspect of the race that has change is in the amount of competitors. In previous years, when only four patrols participated, many additional lifeguards from each patrol were able to participate in the race due to the fact that most events required at least a couple of teams of competitors. With the competition expanded to seven patrols, only one competitor or one team of competitors from each patrol can participate.

"We're really looking forward to having seven beach patrols this year", North Wildwood Beach Patrol Chief Tony Cavalier said. "The downside to it is that we're down to one competitor from each beach, so that means the second and third tier competitors can't participate. But we're excited to have seven beaches and it seems that the new ones are real excited to be in it. It's kind of a bye week for (Upper, Sea Isle, Avalon and Stone Harbor) otherwise since the Atlantic City Classic isn't until ( July 20) so it keeps those beaches on a week-to-week schedule like they usually are for the whole summer."

The Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in front of North Wildwood Beach Patrol headquarters at 15th Street and the beach. This is the 33rd year the event, which is held in memory of Jim Beschen and Michael Callahan, a pair of former North Wildwood lifeguards killed in the Vietnam War.

North Wildwood won its eighth straight Beschen-Callahan title last summer.

July 14

Dynasty at Sea
North Wildwood Wins Beschen-Callahan for Ninth Straight Year



NORTH WILDWOOD - In their 33rd year, the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races went from being a four-team event to a seven team event, and some of the new competitors had an impact Friday.

Especially 16-year-old Pat Healy of underdog Sea Isle City, who sent his cheering patrol mates into an uproar with wins in the swim and the can run.

The familiar slow, rhythmic chant of "Sea...Isle, Sea...Isle" was heard all evening. After his close victory in the can run, which is a one-man surf dash, the Sea Isle guards carried Healy on their shoulders.

But the team championship was one thing that didn't change this year. North Wildwood won its home event for the ninth straight year, thanks to mainstays Romolo Forcino, Rich Bostwick, Tim Dwyer and the surf dash team.

North Wildwood scored 25 points and Sea Isle City was second with 16.5 Wildwood Crest got a victory from veteran doubles crew of Max Bilkins and Bick Murphy and finished third with 15 points.

"I like the fact that our event seven beach patrols now," North Wildwood Beach Patrol Chief Tony Cavalier said. "The crowd liked seeing Avalon, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor and Upper Township here, and I think event is better."

North Wildwood lost the first two races, but then won four straight. The rally started with the surf dash as Steve DelMonte got North Wildwood the lead in the first leg, and teammates Brendan Gibson, Chris DeLong and Jake Dickson, in that order, beat Cape May County champion Wildwood Crest by almost two seconds.


Forcino then won a thrilling singles row by three yards over Darrick Kobierowski of Stone Harbor. The Beschen-Callahan rowing races end with a sprint to flags on the beach, and Forcino and Kobierowski were neck and neck as they ended the row. Forcino's course brought him a bit closer to his flag, and he outsprinted the Stone Harbor guard to the finish.

"From start to finish I gave it all I had," Forcino said. "That's the only way to win these races."

Dwyer led Avalon's Shane McGrath as the two entered the surf near the end of the run/swim. The former Wildwood Catholic High School runner lengthened the lead in the final 50-yard sprint and won by 10 yards.

Bostwick stayed just behind two other runners at the midway point of the two-mile beach run and then turned it on to win by seven yards over Wildwood's Steve Long and Ryan Fennelly of Sea Isle, who tied for second.

"I got the lead 200 yards after the midway point and went as hard as I could to get a little cushion," Boswick said. I knew they were right behind me on the way back"  

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