The Southampton Town lifeguards held their annual interbeach tournament on Thursday, July 11, at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays, to determine which lifeguards will represent the town at the 27th annual East Hampton Main Beach Lifeguard Tournament—which is today, July 18.
Southampton will have some steep competition, as lifeguards from as far west as Smith Point and as far east as Montauk will be competing in the tourney.
While it was technically a tryout, last week’s tournament is not nearly as competitive as the Main Beach Tournament. It’s mainly for co-workers to get together and enjoy themselves. Therefore, the results aren’t quite so important.
Sean Crowley, chief lifeguard of the eastern beaches (Sagg Main, Mecox, Long Beach, Scott Cameron and Flying Point beaches), said that the west lifeguards (Ponquogue, Tiana and Pikes beaches), headed by chief lifeguard Ann Naughton, came out in full force last week. He shared that this week’s team will most likely be made up of a lot of the western guards.
“Seemed like the west end did well,” he said. “The west lifeguards had such good numbers and were strong in all events.”
Crowley explained that the interbeach tournament had been more competitive over the years, but that this year they wanted it to be more of a relaxed event. “Now, it’s a more of a get-ready tournament,” he said. “What happens at the end of the night is, we sit down and see who’s ready. But it’s also for the co-workers to get together and have fun and show off the skills that they practice every day.”
There were seven different events competed in the tournament: the distance swim, distance run, four-man long board paddle relay, land line rescue, 4×100-meter relay, run swim run, and the ever-popular beach flags. The long board paddle relay is also popular among the guards, because many of them get to surf on their way back to the beach.
Superintendent of Southampton Town Parks Chris Bean was in attendance and was pleased with the turnout. “It went great,” he said. “The people who went down were very prepared and well trained. It was a good turnout and it went very smoothly, and it was because of the administration of Sean Crowley, Ann Naughton and [senior lifeguard] Steve Kobus.”
One of the lifeguards in attendance, Westhampton Beach graduate Frank Zambik, will be shipping out to boot camp on July 24 after enlisting in the Navy. He will endure an eight-week boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, and then head to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which is where his “A” school is located. An “A” school is where a recruit learns the fundamentals of their chosen technical field.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Zambik said. “I don’t like school really all that much. I know college isn’t for me.
“My ultimate goal is to be a Navy SEAL,” he added. “Once I get my vision corrected in a few years, down the road, I’m going to try to become a SEAL.”
Zambik said he was inspired to join the Armed Forces after reading “The Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell in his freshman year of high school. His friend, Andres Herrera, who enlisted in the Air Force, had recommended the book to him.
Zambik is in the middle of his third year as a Southampton Town lifeguard and is a little sad that he won’t be able to finish out the summer on the beach with his co-workers. “I wish I had the whole summer, but I am looking forward to the Navy,” he said. “This is what I’m going to miss the most, though, just being out here with everyone.”