Upper Township's Ford Palmer is pushed out for the row. Monday July 16 2012 Cape May Beach Patrol Superathlon. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Ben Fogletto

Two very different lifeguard events, one an individual test and the other a show of team strength, will be held today.

The 32nd annual Cape May Beach Patrol Superathlon, with one guard racing for each patrol, will be 6 p.m. at Second Avenue and Beach Drive in Cape May.

The 49th annual Chief Bill Kuhn Brigantine Lifeguard Invitational, a relay event with many lifeguards, will be at 6:30 p.m. at 15th Street beach in Brigantine.

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The Brigantine races are the paddle relay, the surfboat relay, the swim relay, the iron-man medley relay and the rescue relay.

The Atlantic County Beach Patrols of Longport, Ventnor, Atlantic City and defending champion Brigantine will compete, along with the guest patrols of Lavallette and Island Beach State Park. Margate will not be there.

"Our event shows the depth of a patrol, and the lifeguards like the fact that so many can compete," Brigantine Beach Patrol senior Lt. Fran Masino said. "The guards on the different patrols know each other, because many of them are firemen or teachers together."

The Cape May Superathlon is a run-row-swim triathlon for lifeguards. The competitors run two miles from Second Avenue up Beach Drive to Poverty Beach.

They enter lifeboats at that point and row in the ocean a mile and a half in the other direction to Congress Beach. Following a 200-yard run to Mogck Beach at the lifeguard headquarters, the guards finish with an out-and-back swim that ends at Cannone Beach (next to Mogck).

Cape May Beach Patrol Chief Buzz Mogck, for whom the beach was named, started the race in 1982.

"It's the kind of race that only a lifeguard would be able to do," he said. "Through the years, the run has become more competitive. But someone could always take you in the row or the swim. It's never over until it's over."

The Superathlon lineup of 15 lifeguards includes Chuck Gowdy of Margate, who won last year in 42 minutes, 26 seconds. Also back is Michael Barrett of Ocean Beach II in Ocean County, who was second in 2012 in 43:07.

Ocean City's Dan Brady, fourth last year, returns, along with Longport's Tim Schwegman (sixth in 2012), Wildwood's Ryan Meyer (seventh), Upper Township's Ford Palmer (ninth) and Sea Isle City's Michael Vallen (10th).

Twelve lifeguards from each patrol are eligible for the Brigantine races.

Brigantine will be led by Sven Peltonen, Rob Canavan, Vince Sera, Shane McKenzie, Michael Brooks and Bob Lenahan. Atlantic City, which finished second last year, features Eric Grant, Vince Granese, Carson Rau, Mike Santangelo, Jeff Terrell and Josh Spivey.

Longport, third in 2012, has Max Mittelman, Mike McGrath, Sean Duffey, Katie Adams, Eric Grimley and Matt Kelm. Ventnor's lineup includes Louis Berges, Sean Slattery, Joe Callahan, Melissa Toy, Shannon Howarth and Mike McMenamin.

The event honors the late Bill Kuhn, the Brigantine Beach Patrol captain from 1937 to 1947 and its honorary chief from 1951 to 1973.

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