2003 in Review:

July 11

Sea Isle Breaks out at B-C Races

Leader Staff Writer

NORTH WILDWOOD - The contingent from the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol has always been among the most enthusiastic at area lifeguard competitions over the years. 

Their loud "Sea! Isle! Sea! Isle!" chant heard rumbling along the beach during competitions would sometimes prompt another race observer to say, "Well, they may not win a lot but at least they come out here and have fun." 

On Friday, July 11, though, Sea Isle went out and had fun and came out a winner. 

Winning its first major beach patrol competition in recent memory, Sea Isle City scored points in six of seven events to nip Avalon and Wildwood Crest by three points to capture the 35th annual Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Championships. 

With Sea Isle and Avalon tied with 15 points and Wildwood Crest still alive with 14 points heading into the final event, Pat Healy, who had also scored a point earlier by placing fourth in the swim, finished second in the can run to clinch the victory for his patrol. 

In the end, Sea Isle scored 18 points, with Avalon and Wildwood Crest each finishing with 15. Avalon was awarded second place via a tie-breaking system. 

"I think our patrol really needed a win," said Sea Isle City Beach Patrol captain Renie Steele. "We've been coming on lately, we've been more competitive, but maybe something like this gives some of the guys on the fringes who aren't training as hard the extra incentive to work a little harder." 

Sea Isle's win also ended a remarkable run by host North Wildwood, which had won 10 straight Beschen-Callahan titles. 

"They're a great beach patrol and that's what makes this win even more enjoyable," Steele said. "We beat a really good team that had won a bunch in a row here and we beat a lot of other really good teams, too. That makes this win even sweeter." 

Sea Isle gained an early advantage when its doubles row team of Bill Blystone and Jim Savage beat some more experienced crews to win the event's first race. They won by 20 seconds over the Crest's Max Bilkins and Bic Murphy. 

"When our guys won that, that kind of set the tone for everybody else," Steele said. "I think from that point on, everyone else was afraid not to perform their best because they didn't want to let the doubles crew down." 

From there, Healy grabbed a point in the swim; Philipa Polychronakis, Pat Hoban, Matt Spille and Matt Wahl earned three points for a second-place showing in the surf dash relay; and Ryan Weathers earned a point with a fourth place finish in the run/swim biathlon to keep Sea Isle among the contenders. 

After not scoring in the singles row, Division I college runner Matt Ruhl put Sea Isle in a tie for first by winning the two-mile beach run, Ruhl beating North Wildwood's John Garton by almost five seconds. 

That set the state for Healy's championship clinching second-place showing in the can run. North Wildwood's Drew Williams won the event by eight seconds. 

North Wildwood, which finished strongly by gaining eight points in the final two events, placed fourth with 12 points. 

"I feel for our competitors," said North Wildwood Beach Patrol chief Tony Cavalier. "I told them that with our 10-year stretch there was a lot of pressure and that they should just go out and do the best they could do. Obviously, (the win streak) had to end sooner or later. We knew that. We just have to congratulate Sea Isle and the other beach patrols that finished ahead of us. 

Wildwood Crest stayed in contention by getting first-place finishes from Josh Irons in the swim and Joe Maloy Jr. in the run/swim biathlon. 

Irons, a 23-year-old fifth-year who attends Millersville University, emerged from a crowded field of contenders in the waning moments of the race to win the swim. 

"It was an unbelievable race," Irons said. "On the waves coming in, there were a bunch of us all grouped together. Then a wave crashed and it seemed like all of us were under water for about 10 seconds. Then I just got a nice wave at the end and that let me catch my breath. The toughest part was running (to the finish) at the end." 

Avalon veteran Craig Whitehead, proving that navigating a good course can often lead victory in rowing events, beat Stone Harbor's Darrick Kobierowski to take the singles row. Kobierowski actually reached the beach a good 15 seconds before Whitehead, but lost out as Whitehead rowed to a point almost directly in front of his finishing flag while Kobierowski had to run approximately 150 yards south on the beach to his. 

"(Whitehead) came in closer to the flag and that's what this race is all about," Kobierowski said. 

"Basically, I just tried to row a good course," Whitehead said. "I was rowing against the current coming in and that slowed me a little, but it paid off in the end because I was right on my flag." 

TEAM SCORING: 1. Sea Isle City, 18; 2. Avalon, 15; 3. Wildwood Crest, 15; 4. North Wildwood, 12; 5. Stone Harbor, 8; 6. Upper Township, 5.5; 7. Wildwood, 3.5. 

DOUBLES ROW: 1. Sea Isle City (Bill BlystoneJim Savage) 10:51; 2. Wildwood Crest (MaxBilkins-Bick Murphy) 11:11; 3. (tie) Upper Township (Jim Gibbons-Ken Dudnick) and Wildwood (Steve McGuinn-Mike Regan) 11:20.6. SWIM: 1. Josh Irons, Wildwood Crest, 8:41.10; 2. Nick Macko, North Wildwood, 8:42.70; 3. Brad Lacey, Avalon, 8:43.56; 4. Pat Healy, Sea Isle City, 8:47. 10. 

SURF DASH: 1. Avalon (Erich Wolf, Chris Jordan, Matt Wolf, Jay Jordan) 2:13.99; 2. Sea Isle City, 2:20.72; 3. Stone Harbor, 2:21.76; 4. North Wildwood, 2:23,40.

RUN/SWIM: 1. Joe Maloy, Wildwood Crest, 14:17.00; 2. Shane McGrath, Avalon, (no time); 3. Tom Popdan, Stone Harbor, 15:11,08; 4. Ryan Weathers, Sea Isle City, 15:58.16.

SINGLES ROW: 1 . Craig Whitehead, Avalon, 6:51.46; 2. Darrick Kobierowski, Stone Harbor, 6:57.60; 3. Mike Regan, Wildwood, 7:00.08; 4. Dan Rassmussen, Wildwood Crest, 7:10.84. TWO-MILE RUN: 1. Matt Ruhl, Sea Isle City, 10:57.00; 2, John Garton, North Wildwood, 11:01.96; 3. Greg Hughes, Upper Township, 11: 13.00; 4. Steve New, Stone Harbor, 11: 18.14.

CAN RUN: 1. Drew Williams, North Wildwood, 2:33.9; 2. Pat Healy, Sea Isle City, 2:41.16; 3. Ken Dudnick, Upper Township; 4. Terry McGovern, Wildwood Crest.

 July 13

NW Lifeguards Rescue Nine Swimmers Within Minutes

Leader Staff Writer

NORTH WILDWOOD Strong rip currents wreaked havoc on beachgoers Sunday, with a total of nine swimmers pulled, from the water by lifeguards in three separate rescues within minutes of each other. 

According to -North Wildwood Beach Patrol Chief Tony Cavalier, around 3 p.m. there were so, many lifeguards involved in rescues that the water was cleared of swimmers.  

"We got to a point where we couldn't cover all of the stands, so we had to pull everyone out of the water,” he said 

Around 3 p.m., guards John Palumbo and Eric DiPatova, keeping watch at the 14th Avenue beach, spotted four swimmers being pulled out about 30 yards offshore. 

At nearly the same time, 13th Avenue guards J.J. Brown and James Knobler went in for two adults and a child.  

Within minutes of that incident guards Courtney Sheppard, J.R. Basolis, and Don Fillinger swam out to rescue an adult and a child who were riding body boards at Seventh Avenue when the current got them. 

None of the swimmers were injured. 

As the rescue at 13th Avenue was going on, all swimmers were ordered out of the water. A large crowd assembled as the medic truck arrived. As guards helped the three swimmers out of the water- one of them carrying a child - bystanders clapped and cheered.  

Swimmers were allowed in the water once the rescues were completed, but were, not allowed to go in -past thigh level. 

Cavalier said rip currents develop as storms offshore cause the water to rush toward the beach. As the water flows back to sea it creates a narrow, fast-moving channel that can snare swimmers. 

"That water is moving so fast, you can't swim against it. It's amazing when you see it, it's like a river," said Cavalier. He said rip currents are often only about 10 yards wide and a different color than the rest of the water. 

"The water is often brown or muddy. When you see that, or feel a pull, you should stay out of that, area," he advised. 

Wildwood Crest and Wildwood reported no unusual rescues or riptides Sunday. Capt. Lou Cirelli of the Wildwood Beach Patrol said conditions can be drastically different from one town to the next. 

"It depends on a lot of things: wind conditions, tide changes, proximity to the inlet, shifting gullies and, sandbars. Some days, we have strong currents and North Wildwood will be calm," said Cirelli. "That's why you prepare for all conditions." 

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