By Lesley Graham
The Ocean City Beach Patrol opened the 2019 summer racing season with a solid third place finish at the Cape May County Lifeguard Races held in Wildwood Crest on Monday evening.
Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol hosted the event and would come out on top of the team competition, taking home the trophy. Patrols from Cape May County – Ocean City in the north through Cape May Point in the south – made up the 10 towns represented at the races.
Competition consisted of seven events: doubles row, singles row, men’s and women’s paddleboard, men’s and women’s box swim, and a co-ed surf dash relay.
Ocean City scored top three in four of the seven events, taking second place in the doubles row (Matt Garbutt and Paul Boardman), and third place finishes in open paddleboard (Bryan Theiss), singles row (Shannin Theiss) and the surf dash relay (Richie Richman, Kat Soanes, Andrew Duff, Andrew Carney and Ryan Mccrossan).
Also for Ocean City, Brian Mcgroarty placed fourth in the open swim, while Samantha Brady and Erin Murphy placed sixth in the women’s swim and box paddle, respectively.
The ocean was rough, with strong seas and current pulling towards the south and with wind off the ocean. It led to some less than desirable conditions for racing.
Paul Boardman, a senior guard on the Ocean City Beach Patrol, as well as one of the members of the two man doubles crew, stressed that point.
“(Matt) Garbutt and I have only been rowing together for two months and this was our first out-of-town race together. But there’s a huge difference between rowing and racing, and tonight we came here to race,” Boardman said as he celebrated their second place finish.
Bryan Theiss competed in his fourth Cape May County Races. A 17-year veteran of the OCBP and holding the title of training officer, Theiss has put a lot of time and effort into his training regime to compete with the best.
“I take training seriously and I take competing seriously,” he said. “I just don’t come out here to exist. I come out here to win.”
Theiss finished third in the box paddleboard, being outrun on the beach by Wildwood Crest and Stone Harbor lifeguards.
Ocean City Capt. Brian Booth was proud of the team’s performance.
“It was a good first race. We are still learning and it’s early in racing season. We still have some big in-town races to determine who will compete for us this summer out of town, but our future is looking bright,” Booth said.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol will be back in action this Wednesday as the women compete at the Longport Women’s Invitational.