The 2022 Jersey Mike’s USLA Lifeguard Championships in Hermosa Beach, California saw some great performances by lifeguards on South Florida beaches. Most impressive was her rescue lifeguard Casey Francis battling waves and sand to win her championship in women’s overall points for the second year in a row. .
Kelsey Cummings of the LA County Surf Life Saving Association came in second. Riis Park’s Thomas O’Neill defeated LA County Surf Life Saving Association’s Brian Murphy to win the men’s overall points title.
Thanks to Francis’ individual efforts, Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue has risen to the top of the B division team competition. His group of 5 FLOR lifeguards won the LACOLA Championship Trophy. The B division lifeguard program consists of 51 to his 200 lifeguards. In the A Division team competition, longtime powerhouses LA County Surf Life Saving Association won his 46th title and Howard Lee his trophy. The A Division competitor has more than 201 of his lifeguards in each program.
With the help of his teammates, Francis finished 2nd in the Women’s Open Beach Flags and Open Women’s Taplin Relay and 3rd in the Open Women’s Surfski, with Shannon Snell finishing 6th overall. Eben Krigger, Mitch McCrady and Phillip McCrady rounded out his FLOR squad and contributed significantly to a team effort where every point counts.
Francis has been a consistent model by placing and scoring in every event he has entered. Between her physiotherapist position at Holy Cross Hospital and her additional schooling, there wasn’t much time to focus on training, but overall results didn’t tell. A Lauderdale resident, it was her fifth year competing in the USLA Nationals.
Francis has won gold medals in the Women’s All-around Championship, Women’s Double Throw and Mixed Double Throw. The Fort Lauderdale resident won the American Ironwoman, International Ironwoman, Board Relay, Board Rescue and Taplin Relay where she placed second. He also finished 4th in Surf Race, 5th in Surf Rescue, 6th in Run, Swim, Run, Landline Rescue Race, 7th in Run Relay, 8th in 2K Run and 10th in Surf. . 12th place in ski and board races.
Attending 15 events in two days is a lot of work, but Francis had other challenges to deal with.
“The biggest difference this year compared to last year’s championship in Texas was the surf and the waves, which were amazing and not what we were used to,” Francis said. “I had no idea what was going to happen. The boating event was tense, but I was lucky to have a very experienced partner with Tiffany (Lakas, Palm Beach County) who I fully trusted. I had the edge in the boat events, and I felt more prepared for the run events than the swim events this year.”
At Penn State, Francis excelled in long-distance races such as the 500 meters. It was her challenge that she looked forward to going to California and competing with some of the best lifeguards in the country.
“It’s the kind of endurance race that I like,” she said. “Usually I run 5Ks every week, but running in sand is always tough. I was looking forward to coming to California to compete. I have a lot of friends. A few races. Due to work, I didn’t get many opportunities to train in swimming, which is still my forte.”
Having teammates from Fort Lauderdale proved to be instrumental in Francis’ success.
“I didn’t go there to win the High Point competition, I just went there to compete in most of the events,” she said. It’s been great to have Shannon (Snell) back on the team this year, we couldn’t have won the title for the entire team without everyone’s contribution and Shannon crushed it with Beach Flags and Board Rescue Evan (Krigger) is also a Penn State alumnus and was on our swim team and did great, and it was great to win the team event.”
Finishing second in the B division team event was the ever-competitive Riis Park team. Hundreds of lifeguards from all over the country tested their athletic prowess in a convivial atmosphere that fostered good sportsmanship and clean competition. doing.
Several of the USLA National Championship’s top challengers will be teammates with the United States at the World Lifesaving Championships in Riccione, Italy this month. The journey continues for his 27-year-old Francis, who has been selected to represent Team USA. This is her fifth international competition. She will be joined by Volusia Surf Lifesaving Association’s April O’Gorman, who was Francis’ teammate and competitor during the national championships.
“The opportunity to compete internationally is one of the reasons I’m still doing this, and meeting old friends from other international teams is a highlight,” Francis said. “That’s my favorite part. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are really good. I’m going to keep my pool in shape with the Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters team.”
There were many other South Florida lifeguards who enjoyed strong performances and came home with medals. The Deerfield Beach Ocean Rescue Team of Daniel Lenahan, Dylan Narkowicz and Roman Stromenger finished second in the men’s board relay race. Also representing Deerfield Beach were Chris Hock and Kevin Jones, who placed him third in his surf boat race.
The Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Team of John Livingston and Justin Kattan were champions of the Men’s Surf Boat Competition. Livingston teamed up with Francis to participate in Mixed his surf boat races and in the Men’s American Ironman event where he placed third. Former Fort Lauderdale resident Jennifer Noonan of the LA County Surf Life Saving Association placed 10th in the overall High Point competition.