“David versus Goliath”: Deerfield’s lifeguards victorious at National Lifeguard Championships

Deerfield Beach’s lifeguards run into the water at the National Lifeguard Championships, held in Hermosa Beach, California. [Michael Osborn]

By Judy Wilson | Associate Editor

Deerfield Beach – It was another “Gold Medal Day” for the six-man team representing this city last week at the National Lifeguard Championships, hosted by the United States Lifesaving Association, held in Hermosa Beach, California. Roman Strohmenger and Dylan Narcowich took the Gold in a “photo finish” of the open division of board rescue, an event considered the crown jewel of the competition.

Deerfield Beach’s lifeguards celebrate their victory at the National Lifeguard Championships. [Michael Osborn]

According to Michael Osborn, a freelance photographer who recorded the event, it was a dramatic win, decided only after a 10-minute review of time stamps and computers by the judges. “It electrified the beach,” Osborn said. “They beat countless, highly-respected guards. A truly special moment . . . a David versus Goliath story.”

The event required a swimmer, in this case Narcowich, to run down the beach and swim out to dip a flag at the end of a pier. Once the flag touched water, Strohmenger, on the board, took off from the sand, paddled through the surf and collected his teammate. Both paddled back to shore and then ran with the board – in the sand – to the finish line.

“It was a truly  incredible feat,” said Osborn. Deerfield’s young and small squad was competing against teams that had talent pools of 200 lifeguards.

Said Mike Brown, head of the ocean rescue team here, “I am very proud and grateful to have such an amazing staff who represented our city on the national stage – and brought us home a championship.”

The remainder of Deerfield’s small squad also turned in outstanding performances, winning the national championship for teams for city’s with less than 50 guards.

Strohmenger, 32, took first in the International Iron Man for his age group. Both he and Narcowich, 24, were finalists in individual paddle. Chris Hoch and Kevin Jones won their age group in row and took third in open row. Strohmenger and Narcowich with Dan Lenehan were second in open paddle relay. Strohmenger and Narcowich were fifth in open Taplin relay and Pat Clemens was fifth in open row and second in his age group in the American Iron Man.

Said Stohmenger of his team’s success, “To be showcased among the best in the country makes it even more worthwhile. I really don’t like all the attention, but there is a misconception that we sit out here and tan on the beach. Many of us are EMTs and paramedics, hardworking professionals with families who take pride in keeping our beach, its residents and visitors, safe.”

Narcowich is also proud of his team and his city. Of his day job he said, “Guarding the beach is important. We work hard to keep people safe. Please be respectful to those looking out for you.”

There were more than 550 competitors from across the country at the championships.

Last month, Deerfield’s lifeguards swept a regional competition held in Stuart, bringing home first place in all 18 events, bested for an overall win by teams with deeper depth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *