2004 in Review:

July 16

Sea Isle Takes Second Straight Beschen-Callahan Crown.

Staff Writer

NORTH WILDWOOD Moments after the 2004 Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races ended Friday evening, Ryan Weathers spoke with a reporter as the rest of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol shouted their familiar chant of "Sea! Isle! Sea! Isle!" behind him.

"It didn't take much to pump me up," Weathers said of his preparation for the competition's final event, the can run. He paused, then pointed over to his euphoric patrolmates behind him and said, "'When you hear those guys doing that, it really pumps you up".

Weathers' victory in the can run - complete with a dramatic dive at the finish - gave Sea Isle its fourth first-place finish of the competition and allowed it to win its second straight Beschen-Callahan title. Sea Isle finished with 22 points. Wildwood Crest was second with 18 points and North Wildwood placed third with 17 points.

The competition was close heading into the can run, a one-person out-and-back surf clash with a rescue buoy, with Sea Isle, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest all in contention for the title.

Adding to the drama was the fact that the can run competitors from all three of those patrols rose out of the surf' at virtually the same time late in the race. Weathers, however, was able to trudge through the surf a bit quicker than North Wildwood's Drew Williams and Wildwood Crest's Josh Irons. With the rest of the Sea Isle contingent screaming with joy, Weathers dove to his finishing stick to clinch the team title for his patrol.

"I knew we were all right there," Weathers, a Norristown, Pa., native and recent graduate of West Chester University said of the team standings heading into his event, "so I knew what I had to do."

Sea Isle put itself in contention for the team title though outstanding performances by Pat Healy, Sean Riley and Tim Carroll.

Healy, an accomplished swimmer and past county and Beschen-Callahan titlist, won the box swim by five seconds over North Wildwood's Nick Mako.

Carroll, a LaSalle University runner. won the two-mile beach run by two seconds over North Wildwood's John Garton.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came from Riley, a 17-year-old from Lafayette Hills. Pa.. who rows at LaSalle High School. Riley. in his first summer in inter-patrol competitions, used a strong push from a wave in the final 30 yards to win the singles row.

"I didn't know what happened in the surf," said Riley, whose father. Eugene, and Uncle, Bill Riley, previously rowed for the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol. "Coming in I saw the Crest boat (John Way) and I just told myself there's no way he was going to beat me. I just rowed my butt off. This is huge for me because before this I had never really been good at singles (rowing).

Sea Isle, in the past an afterthought at most beach patrol competitions, has developed into a patrol that can contend in most lifeguard competitions over the past couple of summers.

"I think we're really up and coming", Weathers said. A lot of guys are taking this stuff a lot more seriously. Before. we basically had Pat and we let him do whatever events he wanted to do and everyone just watched him. Now we know we're much more of a team. Everyone's putting in the effort and trying to go out and do what they can."

Stone Harbor's Dave Insogna and Mike Murray nipped Wildwood Crest's Max Bilkins and Bick Murphy in the doubles row. Bilkins and Murphy reached the beach first, but Insogna and Murray won the competition due to their straighter course. At the Beschen-Callahan races, rowers are required to run from their boats to a designated flag on the beach after returning to shore, and Insogna beat Murphy to the flag by two seconds.

North Wildwood won the surf dash relay as Steve Hanlon, Bill Walsh, John Montgomery and Tim Fynes beat second-place Wildwood Crest by about four seconds.

Wildwood Crest's Joe Maloy, who also placed third in the swim, won his second run/ swim competition of the summer, finishing 24 seconds ahead of North Wildwood's Macko. 

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