Zac Campbell, of Stone Harbor, is first out of the water during the surf dash event at last year's Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races in North Wildwood.

The Atlantic County beach patrols and seven from Cape May County resume competitive action tonight on separate beaches in two of the area's traditional lifeguard events.

The 45th annual Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races will begin at 6 p.m. at the 15th Avenue beach in North Wildwood.

The 42nd annual Captain Michael D. McGrath Longport Memorial Lifeguard Races will start at 6:30 p.m. at the 33rd Avenue beach in Longport.

Latest Video

The Beschen-Callahan Memorials consists of six races - the doubles row, the swim, the surf dash, the run-swim, the singles row and the can run.

The Cape May County patrols scheduled to compete: two-time defending champion Stone Harbor, Avalon, Upper Township, North Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest.

"Our race is a little shorter, and the starts are a little different," North Wildwood Beach Patrol captain Bill Ciavarelli said. "I think it will be close with everybody winning an event."

Stone Harbor won three races and the team title with 23 points last year. Avalon took second with 13 points.

The event, which began in 1969, honors Jim Beschen and Mike Callahan, two North Wildwood lifeguards who were killed in the Vietnam War.

The McGrath Longport Memorials keeps the decades-old South Jersey format of the doubles row, the swim and the singles row. The five Atlantic County patrols of Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport will be there. Longport is the defending champion.

"It's always a fun night in Longport, and great competition," Longport Beach Patrol chief Dan Adams said. "Every beach (patrol) has a competitive field. It was close last year and definitely could be again."

The event honors the late McGrath, the Longport patrol's former co-captain and longtime rowing champion.

With the Longport Memorials scoring system different from most, Longport won with 83 points in 2012, while Margate took second with 77 points, and Ventnor was third with 74.

Margate's Ashton Funk and Chuck Gowdy won the doubles title last year, and they're back. Longport's entry is Tom Kresz (last year's singles champion) and Tim Schwegman. Brigantine has Vince Sera and Rob Canavan.

Three from each team can enter the Longport Memorials swim. Likely contenders include 2012 winner Pat Flynn of Margate, brother Jeff Flynn of the same patrol, Carson Rau of Atlantic City (third last year), Ventnor's Melissa Toy (fourth in 2012), Longport's John Tepper, Brigantine's Shane McKenzie and Mike Brooks, and Max Tyberski of A.C.

David Funk of Ventnor will row singles, along with Sean Duffey of Longport and Mike Santangelo of Atlantic City.

Stone Harbor brings a somewhat different lineup than last year to the Beschen-Callahan event. Dennis Bakey of Stone Harbor will row with Zac Campbell in doubles today. Bakey won last year with Darrick Kobierowski, who isn't lifeguarding this year.

The doubles also has County champions Erich Wolf and Craig Whitehead of Avalon, and Wildwood Crest's Brendan Cunningham and Terry McGovern.

Some of the top swimmers in the field include Stone Harbor's Sean McCall, Wildwood Crest's Steve Tarnowski and Sea Isle's Blake Trabuchi-Downey.

Avalon won the Cape May County Championships surf dash last Friday, with Stone Harbor second and Wildwood third.

The run-swim has a mostly new field today, and looks wide-open.

The singles row includes Wolf of Avalon, Campbell of Stone Harbor, Upper's Joe O'Neil, Cunningham of Wildwood Crest, and Sea Isle's Pat Scannapieco.

The can run, an event held only at the Beschen-Callahan Memorials in the area, is a one-man surf dash. The guards jump off a lifeguard stand and run out and back, carrying a rescue can. Since it's the final race, it often decides the team title.

"It's the most realistic lifeguard race because it simulates an actual rescue," North Wildwood Beach Patrol chief Tony Cavalier said. "The strongest man wins."

The can run field includes Tarnowski from the Crest, Stone Harbor's John Ruskey, and Upper's Jim Dugan.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.