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PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) state beach lifeguards are competing against their counterparts who protect municipal beaches in the annual, weeklong Guard Games competition that began Monday. The tournament encourages competition, camaraderie, and professionalism among Rhode Island lifeguards.
For over 50 summers, lifeguards from state and town beaches have formed teams and trained to compete against each other in various events. Each night is broken into separate swimming, rowing, paddle, or running events at different beaches and attendance is free after 6PM. East Matunuck, Misquamicut, Roger Wheeler, and Scarborough are the state beaches with participating surf rescue teams. Municipal beach surf rescue teams participating are Charlestown, Easton’s (First) beach Newport, Middletown Second, Narragansett Town Beach, and Westerly Town. A self-described “Old Timers” alumni team consisting of retired lifeguards also will participate.
“We are excited and wish our state beach lifeguards good luck as they compete with some of the top athletes in Rhode Island in the Guard Games,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “The experience of lifeguarding creates camaraderie and close friendships that last a lifetime. Lifeguards are DEM’s first responders at state beaches and the games are a perfect way to showcase their talent and professionalism while highlighting to the public how lucky we are to have great lifeguards. Hopefully, this year’s games will inspire the next generation of lifeguards. Good luck to all competitors!”
“Having been involved in this tournament across four decades, it is great to see the tradition flourishing,” said RI Lifeguard Tournament Director Brian Guadagno. “This is the week lifeguard teams get to showcase all their training and dedication. There is competitive pride for the beaches they represent but also a palpable lifesaving camaraderie that has no boundaries.”
“The races are a great way to showcase to your community the skills you have learned throughout the summer in a highly competitive week of lifeguarding events,” said Narragansett Town Beach Waterfront Director Mike Florio.
“Westerly Town Surf Rescue is extremely excited for another year of the Rhode Island Lifeguard Tournament,” said Westerly Town Beach Supervisor Brian Skorupski. “This is also a special time of year for lifeguards to either meet for the first time or rekindle a friendship from last year’s tournament. At the end of the day, the tournament is about creating awareness that lifeguarding in Rhode Island is still alive and well. Hopefully, spectators that are watching will see this and maybe get inspired to come lifeguard either next year or in the future.”
“Second Beach is fired up and ready to compete this week!” said Second Beach Captain Katie Mangano. “The guards are very motivated after tying Narragansett last summer and will be giving it their all again this year. However, it’s not all about winning or losing at the games, it’s about having fun and sharing good vibes with our fellow guards around the state. I started competing back in 2007 and I love seeing this tradition carry on to the next generation. The tournament is an annual way to reconnect with old friends and competitors from every beach. We all share the same passion for ocean safety and it’s a great week to come together on that.”
Here is the schedule for the remaining events of the Rhode Island Lifeguard Tournament:
Wednesday, Aug. 3: Roger Wheeler State Beach, Narragansett, 6:30 PM
Thursday, Aug. 4: Second Beach, Middletown, 6:30 PM
Friday, Aug. 5: East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown, 6:30 PM
Saturday, Aug. 6: Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett, 6:30 PM
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.