Runners pound the hard sand during the two-mile run at the Dutch Hoffman Memorial Lifeguard Championships on Friday night in Wildwood. Ford Palmer, of the Upper Township Beach Patrol, won in 10 minutes, 2 seconds

WILDWOOD - Just like last year, the Margate Beach Patrol didn't win a race at the Dutch Hoffman Memorial Lifeguard Championships on Friday but still captured the team title.

Margate got second-place finishes from the doubles crew of Ashton Funk and Chuck Gowdy, a second place by swimmer Pat Flynn, and a second by Gowdy in the singles.

Margate's strong team performance overcame a rowing double win by Ventnor's David Funk, who took that race with new partner Matt Given and returned to grab the singles row by one second in an unsteady ocean.

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With the team scoring being 5-4-3-2-1 for the first five places, Margate scored 12 points overall. Funk's two wins were all Ventnor got, so it finished second with 10 points. Upper Township, led by two-mile beach run winner Ford Palmer, totaled eight points for third.

"You always want to win every race, but in the end it's great to have the team title," said Ashton Funk, 31, David's brother. "It's more satisfying. We'll take that.

"Our swimmer (Pat Flynn) did great, and he's going to be there (near the front). Chuck (Gowdy) was close in the singles. In our doubles row, we got stuck in some dead water on the way in, while Ventnor got swells. But they did a great job, and it was a great race."

The 6-foot-7 Given rowed bow with David Funk, and it was Given's first win against other patrols.

"It's hard to mess anything up when you row behind Dave," said Given, 21, a former Boston University rower. "I'm excited, but there are some big races ahead."

The Margate Beach Patrol World War II Memorials is next Friday, and the South Jersey Championships is Aug. 9 in Margate.

In the singles row, David Funk edged Gowdy near the beach as both caught uneven waves and came in somewhat sideways.

"I was cold in the first half of the singles race, but felt better in the second half," David Funk, 35 said. "Chuck's a phenomenal oarsman and a fierce competitor, so to win is an accomplishment. It should be very exciting the rest of the season."

Brigantine's 19-year-old rookie Shane McKenzie won the swim by two seconds over Flynn. McKenzie got up in the surf just before Flynn near the beach, and won the short surf dash to the line.

"I want to give a shout-out to (Brigantine teammate) Sven (Peltonen) because he's been helping me (with surf dashes)," said McKenzie, a Notre Dame University swimmer.

Palmer was in a pack of nine runners midway through an exciting beach run. He began his move just before the final half-mile, and won by 30 yards over Wildwood's Mike Syrnick. Cape May Point's Sam Weintraub was 10 yards behind Syrnick in third.

"The first half of the last mile was against the wind, so I waited to make my move," Palmer, 22, said. "It was a lot like last year but I was not as aggressive. I didn't make my move until the first guy made his move."

Contact Guy Gargan:


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