A lot of beach patrol athletes will get their first chance to compete against other patrols today at the 30th annual David J. Kerr Jr. Memorial Lifeguard Races in Avalon.

The event begins at 6:15 p.m. at the 35th Street beach.

The host Avalon Beach Patrol is the two-time defending champion. The other competing teams are Brigantine, Longport, Wildwood Crest, Ventnor, Wildwood, Sea isle City, Upper Township, North Wildwood and Cape May Point.

The races are the doubles row, the swim, the singles row, the iron-man relay and the surf dash.

Most lifeguard events only include the top swimmers, rowers, runners and paddlers, but the Kerr Memorials emphasizes participation by many athletes.

Many of those top athletes will race today. But each patrol can enter three doubles crews, three swimmers, three singles rowers, two three-person iron-man relay teams and two five-person surf-dash teams. That's 28 lineup places for each team.

With 10 patrols competing, the Kerr Memorials are the largest area lifeguard races of the summer.

The event honors the late Dave Kerr, an Avalon lifeguard rower who wanted his patrol mates to have a chance to compete also. Kerr won a South Jersey Lifeguard doubles row championship in 1980 with partner Dan O'Malley. Kerr died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 28.

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210