The John T. Goudy Memorial Rescue Races are quick and intense, just like a beach rescue. But they’re still only races, and they’re always fun and close.
The Goudy Memorials, a four-race lifeguard event, is at 6:30 p.m. today at the Suffolk Avenue beach in Ventnor.
There’s no beach race like it in South Jersey. All the races are simulated rescues out to flags about 500 feet from shore and back.
The unique aspect is that 50-pound dummies are hooked onto all the flags, and the guards must unhook them and bring the back to the finish line on the beach.
The dummies are often carried like a shopping bag, or on the shoulders, and sometimes even dragged to the line.
And while the sight can be often funny to watch, what it signifies is something a lot more serious.
“What I like about the Goudys is that it’s an exhibition to show what competent rowers and swimmers the patrols have,” Ventnor Beach Patrol captain Bill Howarth said.
“It’s nice to win it, but all the patrols do a great job, and it’s a big demonstration of how well the South Jersey patrols protect the public. It reminds everyone of why we’re here.”
The races are the doubles surfboat rescue, the individual swim rescue, the combination rescue (where a crew and a swimmer work together), and the individual surfboat rescue.
All the beach patrols in the South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association will compete, except Cape May Point. The guest patrols there will be Lavallette, Ship Bottom, Island Beach State Park, Harvey Cedars and Normandy Beach.
Atlantic City has won the team title the last two years, and host Ventnor took the crown from 2006 to 2010.
The event honors the late Goudy, a former Ventnor Beach Patrol chief.
Atlantic City brings a nearly new lineup this year, with only Mike Santangelo back in the individual surfboat rescue. He finished fourth in the race in 2012, clinching the title for A.C.
Longport rower Eric Grimley won the combination rescue last year, and he’ll team with new partners today in rower Tom Kresz and swimmer John Tepper.
Ventnor’s Joe Callahan won the doubles with Mike Tripician in 2012, and Callahan will team with Shawn Slattery in today’s race. Tripician, a patrol lieutenant who has retired from the big South Jersey races, will swim in the combination rescue. He hasn’t raced since last year’s Goudys.
“Louis Berges and Jake Mason (the crew he’ll work with) are really good rowers,” Tripician, 30, said. “It’ll be fun. I’ll show that I can still get through the break and get to the victim. I’m still in good enough shape to do a rescue.”
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