Area lifeguards will show their power, speed and lifesaving ability today in the 44th annual John T. Goudy Memorial Rescue Races.

What: The event honors the late Goudy, a former Ventnor Beach Patrol chief.

The event is comprised of four short races, all of which are simulated rescues. The races are to flags 500 feet from the shore and back. The lifeguards will unhook 50-pound dummies attached to the flags and bring them back to shore. The races are the doubles surfboat rescue, the individual swim rescue, the combination rescue (with a doubles crew and a swimmer working together) and the individual surfboat rescue.

Where: Suffolk Avenue beach in Ventnor

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Who: Most of the South Jersey beach patrols will be there. Also competing will be the guest patrols of Long Beach Township, Normandy Beach, Island Beach State Park and Lavallette.

Defending champion: The host Ventnor patrol won for the fourth straight time last summer, scoring 16 points. Atlantic City was second with nine points.

Ventnor got wins from its two top guards, Mike Tripician in the swim rescue and David Funk in the individual surfboat rescue, which is a singles row. Swimmer Michael Brooks of Brigantine won the combination race last year with the crew of Sven Peltonen and Justin Bewley. Atlantic City's Mike Sykes and Dave Chapman won the doubles surfboat rescue.

What's unique: The rescue aspect of the Goudy Memorials makes it different from any other area lifeguard event. Most South Jersey Chiefs Association races are long and often disappear from view at the halfway point, but the Goudy swims and rows are short and spectator-friendly. Most South Jersey Association rows end in the water, but all four Goudy races end with a run to the finish line on the beach.

Lifeguards to watch: Funk and Tripician are back, so Ventnor should certainly contend. Also back for the home team is the crew of Greg Smith and Mike Wright, which was second in the doubles surfboat rescue in 2009.

Doubles surfboat rescue crews include Avalon's Craig Whitehead and Shane McGrath, Margate's Pat Smith and Joe Palmer, and Upper Township's Wayne MacMurray and Jim Gibbons. Brooks, a swimmer, willl team up in the combination rescue today with the Brigantine crew of veterans Kip Emig and Paul Savell. Contenders in the combination will include Ocean City swimmer Paul Mangen and the crew of brothers Matt Garbutt and Jeff Garbutt, and Wildwood Crest swimmer John Maloy and rowers Terry McGovern and Matt Benedetto.

The individual swim rescue also has Normandy Beach's Casey Powers (second last year), Brigantine's MIke Demarest, Ocean City's Sean Fagan, Garr Kerr of Cape May, Margate's Jeff Flynn and Stephen Tarnowski of Wildwood Crest. Avalon's Erich Wolf, second in the individual surfboat rescue a year ago, returns, and the race also has Brigantine's John Dattalo, Angelo Camano of Sea Isle City and Margate's Bob Bechtel.

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210