Rogers Beach held its third annual junior lifeguard tournament on Saturday morning, a culmination of what is a four-day, four-week clinic for aspiring lifeguards.
Kathy Gristina, a manager at Rogers Beach, brought the program in more than three years ago, mainly to simply teach children how to swim in the ocean. But for the older kids in the clinic, they get a good feel for what the ocean lifeguard test is like, which they can take when they’re 16 years old. This year’s clinics had 30 kids.
“Every year it’s gotten bigger,” Gristina said. “It’s just a great thing where the kids have a lot of fun. The mayor [Conrad Teller] comes down and gives them all certificates and the parents come down to watch it.”
The clinics were held every Saturday morning for four weeks leading up to the tournament. Since the clinics had kids from 11 to 15 years old, there were two separate tournaments, one for the younger kids, and one for the older, more experienced swimmers.
Rogers Beach lifeguards Drew Peters and Chris Rothe ran the tournament for the younger group, while lifeguards Rob Duca and Jackie Shaub ran the other tournament for the older kids. Peters explained that the younger guards did more ocean swimming events, such as the cross chest carry, running and swimming relays and the torp relay. The older guards did some of the more common lifeguard tournament events, such as the landline rescue.
The conditions weren’t nearly as nice as they were for last year’s event, which saw nearly flawless conditions. It was mostly cloudy on Saturday morning with some periods of rain, and the surf was somewhat choppy.
“It seemed like every Saturday the waves were up and they weren’t really ideal conditions,” Peters said. “But this Saturday the surf was a decent size with a good sweep. It was definitely one of the more calmer days so it worked out in our favor.”