BRIGANTINE — Five of the seven beach patrols had a chance to win the team title going into the last race of the 55th annual Chief Bill Kuhn Brigantine Lifeguard Invitational on Friday at 17th Street beach.

The last race was the rescue relay, with seven lifeguards on each patrol taking part. But instead of it being a dramatic, close race, the host Brigantine scored an easy victory to win the championship for the seventh time in the past eight years.

The final race is a three-part simulated rescue. Three swimmers swim out to the flag, and a swimmer, a paddler and a doubles crew each bring one back to shore. The Brigantine swimmers were Luke Emig, Michael Brooks and Andy Thomas. Emig swam back with Brendan Finnegan, Brooks paddled back with paddler Will Hoffman and Thomas rode back with the doubles crew of Sven Peltonen and Ron DeFelice.

“The swimmers and paddlers made it easy,” said Peltonen, 42.

“We have a lot of swimmers, paddlers and rowers on our patrol. This (race) gears to what you do in a rescue.

“I like this event because it gives a lot of lifeguards a chance to compete that aren’t usually in South Jersey races.”

Brigantine won with 18 points, while Atlantic City took second with 16 points and Lavallette was third with 15.

Longport, the 2018 winner, won the first two races but ended up fourth with 12 points. Margate placed fifth with 11.

Longport’s Tim Schwegman, Max Mittelman, Andrew Baumgartel and Tighe Reed won the paddle relay.

Longport also took the three-crew surfboat relay. The crews were Mike McGrath and Sean Duffey, Eric Grimley and Joe Costa, and Schwegman and Tom Kresz. Schwegman jumped out at the end and ran to the finish line on the beach.

“It was close, but we got on a swell after the flag, and Tim jumped out to win it,” Kresz said. “He’s much faster than me.”

Brigantine’s Thomas, Emig, Brooks and Finnegan won the swim relay.

“I had a slight lead when it was my turn and I knew I had to finish strong and not let the team down,” said Finnegan, 21.

The iron man relay was won by Atlantic City’s Jack Fenton (swim), Matt Mattioli (paddleboard) and the crew of Mike Herzog and Tom Muskett.

Team scoring

(Scoring was 5-4-3-2-1 for the first five places)

1. Brigantine 18; 2. Atlantic City 16; 3. Lavallette 15; 4. Longport 12; 5. Margate 11; 6. Ship Bottom 2; 7. Ventnor 1.

Paddle relay – 1. Longport; 2. Atlantic City; 3. Lavallette; 4. Brigantine; 5. Ship Bottom.

Surf boat relay – 1. Longport; 2. Brigantine; 3. Margate; 4. Lavallette; 5. Ship Bottom.

Swim relay – 1. Brigantine; 2. Atlantic City; 3. Lavallette; 4. Margate; 5. Longport.

Iron man medley – 1. Atlantic City; 2. Margate; 3. Lavallette; 4. Brigantine; 5. Ventnor.

Rescue relay – 1. Brigantine; 2. Lavallette; 3. Atlantic City; 4. Margate; 5. Longport.

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Contact: 609-272-7210

Staff Writer

I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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