VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY)- They are the very best lifeguards this nation has to offer. More than 1200 lifeguards and junior lifeguards are in Virginia Beach this week competing for individual and team honors at the Nautica United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard Championships. “We have guards from Hawaii, California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, New York and as far away as Australia,” said Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association President Tom Gill.
Professional lifeguards ranging in age from 17 to 75 and junior lifeguards from ages 9 to 17 will compete in water and beach course events that challenge their lifesaving skills. “What is so serious about this competition is the skills that they do are what they use to saves lives every day. The better you are here, the better you are on the lifeguard stand when people need it,” said Gill.
David Dierstein is one of 6 family members who guard for Virginia Beach Livesaving Service. He knows how stiff this competition can be. “Between he and I, we are two of the best around in this area. When it comes to the nation you see how far it goes into preparation, practice and level of effectiveness,” said Dierstein.
Competitors will be chasing the 2013 title defenders from L.A. County Lifeguard Association. The team captured the overall team title for the 27th consecutive year last August at Manhattan Beach, California. “To be honest with you, I believe Monmoth County has a good shot. They brought a bunch of good guards with them and they are always up there so who knows, this year it could put an end to their dynasty,” said Sean Millard.
This is the second time the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association has hosted the event, the first time was in 2005. “Virginia Beach is going to be known as the home of lifesaving. We’ve always known that, but now the whole world will too,” said Gill.
The competition wraps up Saturday and will air on Universal Sports Network September 15.