About 30 Lifeguards from Lake Mohawk Country Club, White Meadow Lake, Culver Lake and the Lake Mohawk Pool had spirited and close races in five different events; a 500-yard Open Water Swim, Rescue Tube relay, Paddle Board Relay, a Paddle/Run/Swim/Kayak Relay and a Team Scenario.
All races were designed to test the Lifeguards’ skills and teamwork. Teams consist of four Lifeguards and must be coed. Lake Mohawk Country Club squeaked by White Meadow Lake for the team trophy, scoring 78 points to White Meadow’s 76. The Lake Mohawk Pool came in third with 71 points, and new comers Culver Lake took fourth, but definitely had one of the loudest cheering sections. It was a repeat contest between Will Englehardt from Lake Mohawk Country Club in the 500-Yard Swim who took first last year and Ben Sorrentino from White Meadow Lake, but with different results. Ben barely beat out Will for first place this year. Tim Holovacs took third for the Lake Mohawk Pool. Olivia Maute took first place in girls/women for White Meadow, Heidi Van Denheove came in second for Culver Lake and Mikayla Flynz took third for the Pool.
The Pool team of Finn and Tim Holovacs, Mikayla Flynz and Riley Maldonado beat out Lake Mohawk for first place in the Rescue Tube Relay with White Meadow Lake taking third in this fast paced event. The LMCC team of Thomas Flake, Jack Maldonado, Jonathan Myers and Madison O’Hare edged out Culver Lake in a great finish in the Paddleboard Relay. The Pool team took third. White Meadow Lake dominated the Paddle/Run/Swim/Kayak event. Jake Maute took off on the paddleboard, Mikey Katz rocketed on the run, with Ben Sorrentino doing the swim and finally Taylor Quakenbush finished up in the kayak to take first. LM Pool was followed close behind by LMCC for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The Team Scenario is designed to gauge the Lifeguards’ coordination and teamwork in a rescue situation. This year’s scenario was a submerged “victim” (a manikin) where the primary Lifeguard had to swim to the victim, surface dive, retrieve the victim and tow the victim back to shore, where the other team members are ready to assist in removing the victim, performing team CPR with a bag valve mask and AED. Each team began with 20 points and points were deducted by the judges for standard criteria.
Culver Lake’s team of Maverick and Devon Liebl, Elizabeth Hirsch, Heide van den Heovel and Brandon Crouch took top honors here followed by White Meadow Lake and the LM Pool. Cait Wexler, Regional Aquatics Representative from the American Red Cross, came from Philadelphia for the third year in a row to help judge and officiate the event. Sebastian Cook, Lifeguard Instructor, and Derek Pivko were also judges. Burgers and hot dogs, snacks, watermelon and cake were available and the grill was manned by volunteers from the Lake Mohawk Marine Patrol.
“This was probably the best competition we’ve had so far,” said Rich Carlson, Director of Marine Services for Lake Mohawk and the event coordinator. “The crowd cheering from the boardwalk really inspired the guards. All of the teams seemed evenly matched with each team taking a first in at least one event.”
This is the sixth year that Lake Mohawk has hosted the event. The competition is designed in the spirit to build teamwork, enthusiasm, motivation and skills required of lifeguards to make their job both rewarding and fun.
“The competition is great experience in bringing guards from different facilities to not only showcase their skills but to learn from each other and share experiences,” said Carlson. “Winning it doesn’t mean you have the best lifeguards. Everyone who competes here is great. It’s a great opportunity for everyone here to get better and become more enthusiastic about their job, skills and responsibility. The competition does bring out some bragging rights though.”
Carlson said that LMCC guards practice and drill daily during open beach hours so that members and people can see them. Some of the drills are so realistic that some members passing by a beach call 9-1-1.
“We make sure that we advise Sparta Police whenever we have a lakewide drill,” said Derek Pivko, Waterfront Director for Lake Mohawk. “But it’s nice to see that people are watching out for our guards as well.”-