With two-thirds of its competitors placing third or higher in at least one event, the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue competition team finished in second place in the recent regional lifeguard competition, improving upon a lackluster finish in 2018 and readying a team for the upcoming national competition.
The WBOR team took second place in the “big beach” category at the South Atlantic Lifesaving Association Lifeguarding Competition, held July 10-11 in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The WBOR team had 14 competitors take at least a third-place finish in the competition that featured more than 200 lifeguards from 13 teams along the East Coast. Overall, the team of 21 competitors from Wrightsville Beachfeaturing teams that have more than 50 guards for the beach, with Jacksonville Beach, Fla. taking the top spot.
The WBOR competitive team is voluntary, with expenses paid by competitors or through private donations. Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue was fully staffed during the competition.
In his ninth year competing, Mo Peacock took over as team captain, improving the team’s overall finish from fifth last year to second this year.
“We built up the enthusiasm about going to the competition. It was the best attitude and energy from our team since 2014,” he said. “The team today is putting in the time and effort to be good three to five to ten years from now.”
Peacock emphasized that competitions help improve life saving skills among guards, while also serving as a convention of sorts, letting guards meet and learn from guards from other beaches.
Lifted by the contribution of several University of North Carolina Wilmington swim team members, Peacock said the team got exceptional performances from its competitors. He said Kristi Falco’s six top-three finishes showed remarkable improvement from 2018 and said that WBOR Lt. Rett Nabel’s fifth place finish in the surf race exceeded expectations and helped fire up the team. Up against some of the competition’s most elite swimmers, Nabel took advantage of his strong running skills and low tide to help even the field and keep with the competitors.
Top-three place winners included: Evan Arsenault placed third in the Surf Race; Noah Cahan finished second in the Run-Swim-Run; Sidney Corn placed first in age group in Surf Ski and first in age group in Beach Flags; Jack Devries placed first in Surf Race; Kristi Falco won first in age group 2K, third in age group for the Surf Race, first in age group for the Board Race, first in age group for Iron Guard (swim, prone paddle and run), second in age group for Surfski, and first in age group for International Ironwoman (boat, paddle, swim, run); Greg Fix finished third in age group for the 2K, third in age group for the Board Race, third in age group for Ironguard and third in age group for Beach Flags; Kristen Jeno finished second in age group for 2K run, first in age group for surf race, first in age group for Board Race, first in age group for Ironguard and first in age group for the Run-Swim-Run; Colin Kearn finished second in the 2k; Phillip Morie placed third in the 4 x 100 relay; Rett Nabel placed third in the 4 x 100 relay; Tom McGovern placed third in the Surf Race, first in the Run-Swim-Run, and third in the 4 x 100 relay; Keith Nelson placed second in age group for the 2K and second in age group for the Run-Swim-Run;Mo Peacock took third place in the 4 x 100 relay, first in Beach Flags 1st, and first in age group Beach Flags; Kathyrn Yarborough placed third overall in International Ironwoman.
With the regional competition over, a 10 WBOR competitors are planning to travel to Virginia Beach, Va. in mid-August for nationals. Scheduled for nationals are: Mo Peacock, Philip Morie, Rett Nabel, Tom McGovern, Keith Nelson, Trey Adkins, Kristi Falco, Jack Devries, Noah Cahan, Calvin Daughtry