National Seashore and Barnstable Lifeguards Shine in Annual Competition

[Not a valid template]WEST DENNIS – Lifeguards from across the Cape and a crew from Maine battled it out in the waters off West Dennis beach yesterday in the 42nd annual Cape Cod Lifesaving Competition.

The daylong competition featured several men’s and women’s running, swimming and paddling events and relays with National Seashore lifeguards winning the surf division and Barnstable topping the non-surf division.

Harry Allen, an event facilitator, says it’s a competitive atmosphere.

“A lot of them know each other. A lot of them go maybe to the same colleges or high schools,” Allen said. “It’s very competitive. This is for pride.”

Allen said even though it is a competition, he believes the event is a demonstration of skills that young people need.

“We hope that little kids down there will see it and they’ll say ‘I want to be a lifeguard,’” he said. “That’s what our hope is.”

Brian McCauley, a member of the Dennis lifeguard team which finished second behind Barnstable in the non-surf division, participated for the fifth time in the event and said he enjoys the competition.

“Once you are behind that buoy it’s kind of everything goes,” he said. “You’ve got to get out of there quick.”

McCauley’s Dennis teammate Ben Whitney, who anchored the men’s swim relay, said the competition is a blast.

“We only see these guys once a year,” he said. “We’re all friends but once you get out there it is kind of like a blood bath. Everyone goes crazy.”

Whitney, who just graduated from James Madison University in Virginia, has been a Dennis lifeguard for six years and has participated in the competition every year.

Allen said the beach was crowded with spectators in the afternoon after the morning clouds cleared.

Nauset lifeguards finished second in the surf division and the team from Ogunquit, Maine finished in third. In the non-surf division Falmouth took third place behind Barnstable and Dennis.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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