The event is designed as a tribute to a fallen San Diego lifeguard, a fundraiser for several local nonprofits and as a fun, physical competition between the various divisions of San Diego Lifeguard Services.
As the most central location for the lifeguards stretching up and down the coast, Central District has played home site to the friendly competition at Mission Beach, taking on colleagues from Northern District (La Jolla area-beaches), Southern District (Ocean Beach and Point Loma), and the Boating Safety Unit/Mission Bay.
Pacific Beach/Mission Beach lifeguards have seized on the “home-field advantage” in past years, claiming the relays crown annually since 1998. That streak was finally broken this year by lifeguards from the Southern District, who had not claimed the title since 1997.
La Jolla lifeguards grabbed second in the competition, followed by Central District in third and the Boating Safety Unit in fourth.
The 12-leg relays test speed, strength, agility and teamwork among members and puts rescue techniques on on public display.
The relays raised about $10,5000 for various causes. This year, City Councilmembers co-captained and partnered with the respective divisions toward the following end:
• Councilwoman Marti Emerald and Councilman Mark Kersey co-captained the Southern District, working with lifeguards to raise $2,500 to support the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation’s Veterans’ Plaza Memorial Project;
• Councilman David Alvarez and Councilwoman Myrtle Cole co-captained the Central Division, working with lifeguards to raise $2,500 for the Jackie Robinson YMCA;
• City Council President Todd Gloria and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner co-captained the Northern Division, working with lifeguards to raise $3,000 for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation;
• Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and Councilman Scott Sherman co-captained the Boating Safety Unit/Mission Bay, working with lifeguards to raise $2,500 for Rady Children’s Hospital.
District 2 City Councilman Ed Harris — a longtime veteran lifeguard and resident of Point Loma whose district encompasses all of San Diego’s beach communities, was front and center for the event.
He praised the efforts of supporters.
“I appreciate my council colleagues participating in this year’s relays and fundraising for local charities, and for Capt. Scott Adams for firing the starting gun. It was a rigorous competition for the lifeguards and a fun event for those who came out to watch,” said Harris.
The lifeguard relays are named for veteran lifeguard and longtime Northern District team captain Ronald Trenton, who was lost at sea while piloting his private plane from Catalina Island to San Diego in 1997.