More than 300 lifeguards compete in James P. "Mac" McCarthy Regional Surf Lifesaving Championships on Siesta Key.
Ninety degrees and sunny, the conditions were perfect for day two of the 2016 James P. "Mac" McCarthy Regional Surf Lifesaving Championships on Siesta Key.
The two-day competition brought more than 300 lifeguards from across the state according to event organizer and lifeguard Robert Martini. The competition is the regional qualifier for the United States Lifesaving Association Championship.
Martini and fellow guard Drew Bittle helped fundraise $4,200 to bring the competition to Siesta Key Beach for the fourth time in 10 years.
Over the two days guards competed in events like a paddle rescue, a surfski race, a taplin race and surf race.
A total of 16 guards competed for the team from Sarasota County. Among them were Brianne Grant and Rachel O’Grady who participated in the paddle rescue competition.
The race requires that one teammate swims out to a flag in the water. One the swimmer reaches the flag, they tip it to tell the second teammate to run into the with a paddle board to rescue them. On the return to shore both teammates need to work balance and paddle together on the board.
This was the first time that Grant and O’Grady had participated in the event. They finished in a close second in the first heat.
“We did really well,” Grant said. “We were having a hard time with balance then staying in sync paddling.”