East Hampton junior lifeguards Sophia Swanson and Bella Tarbet were two of 14 national selections to the United States Lifesaving Association youth team, competing in the 2019 International Surf Rescue Challenge in South Africa last week.
The team’s staff used the 2019 USLA Junior Guard National Championship held in Virginia Beach in early August to select its U.S. Youth National Team for the competition held in North Beach, Durban.
Team manager Gus Avila, head coach Casey Graham, and assistant coach Alan Holt were excited to take another youth national team to challenge teams from Australia, Japan, and South Africa. April Denny and Joji Abasolo joined the staff in South Africa to help guide competitors.
The event lineup included surf swims, board races, surf ski races, beach sprints, and combinations of the disciplines in the ocean-man and ocean-woman individual and relay championships. The tube rescue, beach flags, board relay, and surf ski relays were also conducted across the three days of competition where six male and six female athletes from each team were chosen to compete.
All team members were under the age of 19, and were tabbed ambassadors of their nation’s surf lifesaving community to help promote beach safety and highlight the importance of surf lifesavers and youth programs around the world.