2007-08 FIRST TEAM All-Shore 400 freestyle relay Chris Keiper Red Bank 12 400 freestyle relay Carl Nagle Red Bank 12 400 freestyle relay Kyle Stafford Red Bank 12 400 freestyle relay Taylor Gledhill Red Bank 12
2007-08 Boys Swimming All-Shore First Team front row from left to right: Ed Carnes (Monmouth), Taylor Gledhill (Red Bank) and Carl Nagel (Red Bank). Middle row from left to right: Terry Hubert (CBA), T.J. McCarthy (CBA), Charles Pataffi (CBA), Alex Fitton (CBA), Harrison Cefalo (CBA) and Martin Harm (CBA). Back row from left to right: Kyle Stafford (Red Bank), Andrew Dennis (Shore), Greg Daniele (Middletown North), Connor Jaeger (Rumson-Fair Haven) and Chris Keiper (Red Bank). Not pictured: Brian Way (Toms River South). (STAFF PHOTO:ROBERTWARD)
DAN GEORGE, Long Branch, wrestling COACH OF THE YEAR By Joe Adelizzi • STAFF WRITER • March 29, 2008 Dan George thinks the success Long Branch enjoyed this year was not only good for the Green Wave, but for all the schools in the Shore Conference.
"I think it showed that a little school, on occasion, could go head-to-head with the Jacksons and Brick Memorials. It gave a glimmer of hope to every program that one year they can go all the way," George said.
George was the driving force behind a Long Branch team that finished the year undefeated and won four championships, including the NJSIAA Group II championship and the Shore Conference Tournament title. Long Branch, which won its first state group team championship, its first sectional title and its first SCT championship, earned the No. 1 ranking in the final Asbury Park Press Top 10 and was ranked No. 2 in the final Gannett New Jersey Top 20.
"The state Group II championship was the most special," George said. "It wasn't the toughest — that would be the Shore Conference Tournament. But the excitement at the Ritacco Center on that day (of the group finals) was unbelievable. I had never gone to the team finals as a coach, or as a fan. I always said I wanted to feel the same excitement as my wrestlers if, and when, we got that far."
The Green Wave defeated Brearley, 30-27, for the championship. Earlier in the season they defeated Brick Memorial and Howell to win the SCT.
"A lot of the success goes to our assistant coaches who keep our kids going," George said.
He said that Dan Mullan, who runs many of the off-season tournaments, has also had a great impact on the improvement the Long Branch wrestlers have made.
"He (Mullan) keeps them going all year long," George said.
Even though the Green Wave failed to have a wrestler place in the state tournament in Atlantic City, George found positives from the results.
"Not winning adds to the incentive for next year," George said. "It gives the kids something to strive for. This is a team sport, but it is an individual game too. I expect they'll be working hard to do something in Atlantic City next year."
George went to Ohio State after graduating from Long Branch. He came back to the Shore and coached at Red Bank and Ocean Township before coming home.
Long Branch has 12 of its 14 starters back for next season, which should give them a chance to repeat as a top team.
No matter what, George said, he's never going to forget the first season that his team stayed with the big boys.
(STAFF PHOTO: MIKE MCLAUGHLIN) Dave Healy, wearing helmet, and Warren Towns row during the surfboat race at the Asbury Park lifeguard competition. Healy and Towns, who have won nine of the 10 races this summer, are aiming for their consecutive title at the USLA National Lifeguard Championships in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The red boat was nearly upright, its bow stuck in another vessel and the logos of its sponsors, H20 Velocity and Foster's, nearly invisible in the rough surf.
It remained that way, on the Sea Colony Beach Patrol boat rather than the Atlantic, for about half a minute, long enough to derail the championship hopes of most of the rowing pairs at the United States Lifesaving Association Mid-Atlantic Regionals at Belmar.
For Dave Healy and Warren Towns, hardly most rowers — "If they lose, that's your story," said another competitor at the event — it was just a hiccup.
A surfboat race pits teams of two rowers, one manning the bow and the other the stern, against each other on a course normally totaling 3,000 meters. When the horn sounds, the bow man begins rowing while the stern man, who begins on the beach, sprints to join him.
After each 1,000-meter lap, the stern man leaps out of the boat to spring to a line on the stand and back to the boat, while the bow man is busy reversing it to begin the next lap.
It was at this point in Belmar on July 18 that Healy and Towns collided with another boat, costing them about half a minute and dropping them to fourth place in the 10-team race.
They managed to keep their composure and stay the course, however, piercing the water with powerful strokes in perfect unison to gain a position by the start of the final lap, which ended with Healy and Towns finishing ahead of the field by about five seconds, which didn't seem possible just a few minutes earlier.
"I used to get mad (when colliding with another boat) when I was younger, but as I got older I realized it was just misdirecting your energy because it's not their fault," said Healy, the boat's bow man. "You don't like it when it happens, but afterward it's good to have an experience like that psychologically because you just made up ground on some of the best rowers in the country."
Victories aren't rare for Healy, 47, of Shark River Hills, an assistant principal at Middletown High School North and Towns, 41, who lives in Oakhurst section of Ocean Township and teaches math at Jackson Liberty High School, as the pair has won all but one of its 10 races this summer.
Today, at the USLA National Lifeguard Championships in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Healy and Towns will begin their quest for a third consecutive title in preliminaries of the open division against teams from across the country, but as Healy noted, the competition won't be noticeably tougher than what the pair sees all summer at the Jersey Shore.
Led by Healy and Towns, Monmouth County has swept the top three spots the last two years not for prize money, but to keep the a strong tradition of Monmouth County rowing alive.
"At the Jersey Shore, all the towns have boats on the beaches and it's been a tradition to have boats and boat men," Bob Asay said of the area's rowing history. "If you see pictures of the beaches in the early 1900s, you'll see a similar type of lifeguard boat."
The 54-year-old Asay is something of a legend among rowing circles. He began building boats for local beaches in 1984 out of a shop on the Asbury Park boardwalk.
Influenced by the Californian rowers, Asay modified the traditional Sea Bright Skiff lifeguard boat to be self-bailing, allowing water to flow freely out of the boat instead of weighing it down during a race. Eventually, he moved to fiberglass, which trimmed the weight of the boats by about 50 pounds, bringing them closer to the minimum weight of 300.
"When he started making boats that could compete on the national level and the boat builder's right here, you get interested," said Towns, who began lifeguarding in Avalon in 1985 and started rowing the next year. "It makes repairs easy, it makes purchase easy. That was a big influence right there."
Asay, who has moved to Florida, said there are 109 of his self-bailing boats currently in use, over half of them in New Jersey. He estimated their top speed to be around 7 miles per hour, but Healy said he and Towns can sustain an 11 mph pace for about 10 strokes.
The product of training year-round and often five days a week in the summer, that's probably why they're arguably the top team in the country, though winning isn't the only way they intend to uphold the tradition of rowing at the Jersey Shore.
Approximately a dozen rowers were training together in the spring of 2006 when they decided to go ahead with plans to form an association. Today, the Jersey Shore Rowing Association, which is open to men and women, consists of over 40 men ranging in age from 24 to 77.
Most members are between the ages of 30 and 50, also the age range in which most of the country's top rowers fall. Experience is key in the sport; the ability to successfully maneuver and navigate a 19-foot, 300-pound boat in the surf doesn't come in a day.
Though the prevalence of balding heads at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals suggested younger rowers are probably years away from competing on the national level, cultivating an interest in rowing among young lifeguards is a major part of the JSRA.
"We realized when we were younger, we used to fight over the boats on the beach, who would use it next," Healy said. "Now, it isn't a novelty so we really want ... to create the next generation of top rowers and produce the next national champions."
That's why Healy, who began lifeguarding in Asbury Park in the 1970s, joined nine other JSRA members and 16 Spring Lake junior guards three days after the regional event to work on technique in that same red boat he hopes will carry him to a third straight national title.
"It was one of the most moving experiences I've ever had," Healy said. "Sometimes you just do something and hit it right. It was the combination of rowers, the time of day (8 a.m.), the kids that were there, the weather, the surf conditions. Everything was just perfect."
Healy and Towns have been hitting it just right for nearly three years, sometimes — as they showed at regionals — even when things aren't perfect. Should they, or another Monmouth County pair, fail to cross the line first in Friday's final, that's your story.
(STAFF PHOTO: MIKE MCLAUGHLIN) Healy, of Shark River Hills, wearing helmet, and Towns, of Oakhurst, warm up for the surfboat race at the Asbury Park lifeguard competition.
By Len Bardsley-COASTAR
SPRING LAKE, July 19, 2007 — David Healy would like to think he was part of a spark that helped light the fire in a few future rowers on Saturday during a rowing clinic for Spring Lake Junior Guards.
Healy is President of the Jersey Shore Rowing Association, an organization made up of serious competitive rowers in the Monmouth and Ocean County area.
While one of the main reasons for the association is to provide training and support for rowers, a major motivation was to promote the sport and a Junior Lifeguard program seemed like the perfect platform.
“We are trying to instill interest in young kids,’’ said Healy. “Encourage kids to get in the boat. Once they get a set of oars in their hands they are going to be hooked.’’
The Junior Guards came down to the beach early on Saturday, not a day they normally meet to participate in the clinic.
“The kids were a little hesitant getting up so early on a Saturday,’’ said Spring Lake Junior Guard coordinator Nicole Wooley. “Afterwards they said thank you so much for doing it.’’
The Jersey Shore Rowing Association ran the clinic for free and provided five boats.
“We set the boats up and introduced them to our rowers and we did some dry-land rowing,’’ said Healy. “We showed them how to hold the oars then we put the helmets on.’’
Each Junior Guard was teamed with an experienced JSRA rower and the Junior Guards got to experience some ocean rowing.
“Our guys launched the boats,’’ said Healy. “The first run we went for about 10 minutes with each kid. It was remarkable just from the first two minutes until the end how much they improved.’’
The Junior Guards experienced the thrill of riding a wave and breaking through the surf to launch a boat.
“We made a point of launching the boat into the waves and got slightly airborne,’’ said Healy.
The event went even better than Healy could have hoped.
“I have been an educator for 17 years and I knew it would be nice,’’ said Healy. “It was far more than I expected and the kids expected. It was one of the most rewarding days of my life and that was shared by some of the other members.’’
Wooley knows her Junior Guards are looking forward to another chance to get in the boats.
“The rowers were enthusiastic, it was almost contagious,’’ said Wooley. “They gave a lot of information and the kids enjoyed it. The kids want to do it again.’’
The Junior Guards were thrilled to get the opportunity to row, especially on a perfect Saturday morning with the Belmar 5-mile road race taking place in view in one direction and the Avon Mile Swim going on in another direction.
“It was a perfect day,’’ said Healy. “Spring Lake brought down some lifeguards to help us out and the parents were grateful. It was a really big plus for rowing. I think we started something big.’’
Healy has offered clinics to any beach that has a Junior Lifeguard program and Spring Lake was the first beach to take the Jersey Shore Rowing Association up on its offer.
After Saturday, there could be a lot more, which is exactly what Healy is hoping.
“I recommend it to the directors of all the Junior Guard Programs in Monmouth County,’’ said Wooley. “I let the other beaches know they should take advantage of it. It is a great opportunity.’’
STAFF PHOTO: PETER ACKERMAN) Matt Nunnally dives into the boat as he and partner Steve Grober compete in the open surfboat competition during the United States Lifeguard Association (USLA) Regional Lifeguard Tournament on Wednesday in Belmar.
Late surge lands a crown: Nunnally shakes off slow start to take Ironman race Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/19/07BY MATT MANLEY STAFF WRITER
BELMAR — Competing on a beach just south of the one he has patrolled for the last 22 summers, Matt Nunnally thought he might get the benefit of the doubt if any of the six events of the United States Lifeguard Association (USLA) Regional Lifeguard Tournament came down to a close finish.
That was not the case on Wednesday at the 10th Avenue beach in Belmar, but the long-time Bradley Beach lifeguard bounced back from a narrow defeat in the opening event (the surf ski) by winning the International Ironman by a comfortable margin.
Nunnally led the surf ski for the majority of the race, but during the final push, Jordan O'Boyle (Sea Colony, Del.) rode a wave to pull even with Nunnally and used his momentum to row past him and win on a judges' decision.
"It's tough to lead the whole way and lose like that," Nunnally said. "He caught a wave that pulled him up next to me and at that point, I just tried to push to the end. I thought I had him, but the judges didn't think so."
After what he described as a "disappointing" ninth-place showing in the paddleboard race, Nunnally displayed his versatility in the International Ironman event, taking the lead during the swimming portion and stretching the margin on the surf ski to seal the win.
Nunnally again struggled on the paddleboard during the first leg of the Ironman, coming out of the first leg in fourth place. It did not take long, however, for Nunnally to take control of the race during the swimming leg.
"For whatever reason, I had bad starts on the paddleboards today," he said. "Once I fell behind the pack (in the paddleboard race), I kind of pulled back to save up for the Ironman.
The same thing happened in the Ironman, but once I got to the swim, I knew I was in good shape."
With storm clouds gathering overhead, the surf boat race was the last race of the day, cutting the competition short by two events.
The American Ironman and the Taplin relay were eliminated due to the storm.
In the surf boat race, Dave Healy, 47, and Warren Townes, 42, overcame a collision during the first transition to earn the win.
Townes left the boat to complete the first leg of the race, but while running back, another boat collided with Healy's and Townes' boat while Healy attempted to keep the boat stable from the inside.
Once the duo finally broke free, they trailed three other boats, but pulled into the lead by the beginning of the third leg and coasted from there.
"I thought we were done," Healy said.
"We really got tied up there and I didn't think we would be able to do it, but I knew we could do it. We just made sure our course was straight and use some of the experience we have to get back in it."
Michelle Davidson starred in the women's competition, winning three of the four events.
Davidson won the surf ski, International Ironwoman, and combined with Denise Blair of Manasquan to win the surf boat.
Davidson works as a lifeguard in Ocean Grove.
Bradley Beach finished second behind Sea Colony (155 1/2 points) in the "small beach" division with 111 points. Belmar finished fourth among "big beaches" with 57 points.
Nunnally, Davidson, Healy, and Townes will all compete in the national competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C., starting Aug, 9.
Dr. Michael Barrows is ahead in the senior ironman event at the USLA Regionals in Belmar. Barrows is a full time pediatric endocrinologist and part time ocean lifeguard in Monmouth County.
Sea Girt lifeguards Todd Sudol (left) and Bill Medler are hit by a wave as they row in a preliminary heat of the surfboat race.
photos by Andew Mills/The Star-Ledger
GANNETT PHOTO: DOUG HOOD) Dave Healy and Warren Townes of the Jersey Shore Rowing Association row off into the sunset after winning the seventh annual New Jersey State Rowing Championships on the Toms River on Thursday.
THE COMPETITION The New Jersey Rowing Championships is open to all current and former lifeguards, as well as recreational rowers with the conditioning necessary to safely compete, according to race organizers. Thursday marked the seventh annual race, and began and ended at the Toms River Yacht Club. Proceeds benefited Ocean County College Sailing. More Info SEVENTH ANNUAL N.J. ROWING COMPETITION ABOUT 35 BOATS ENTERED RACE THIS YEAR
TOMS RIVER — Ken Motz and his friend Bill Singley haven't let age slow them down.
Motz, 69, of Brick and Singley, also 69, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., are longtime friends who grew up together in Margate and later served together in the Army. And the two men still keep in touch through competitions — grueling competitions — like triathlons.
This year, they decided to participate in the seven-mile New Jersey State Rowing Championships, held Thursday in the Toms River.
"We thought it would be a good challenge before we hit 70," Motz said. "We've been training for about two months."
Started in 2001, the race is a diverse one, with many different ages and boat designs represented, according to Rich Schlatter, the race director.
The race includes people rowing solo or with a partner and attracts many lifeguards as competitors. About 35 boats were competing Thursday. Schlatter said it is serious competition — the race draws participants who are not only among the best rowers in the state, but among the best in the nation.
"The best of the best is here," Schlatter said before the race began at about 6 p.m. in front of the Toms River Yacht Club. "There are a couple of guys in Florida, a couple of guys in California that can keep up."
Mike Fitzpatrick, a lifeguard in Long Beach Township who has participated in the race several times, said he likes the event not only for the competition, but because it helps build skills and physical fitness.
"One of the goals of any of the lifeguard competitions is to promote overall conditioning without having to get out there and crack the whip, have them do pushups," joked Fitzpatrick, 56, who is competition director for the Long Beach Township's lifeguards.
Tom McLoughlin, a lifeguard for 39 years at Sandy Hook, said he enjoys the race because he likes the course, which goes out the Toms River to Barnegat Bay and back.
"It's a good distance. Seven miles is a good distance. It's a pretty well controlled course in the river here," said McLoughlin, 54, of Middletown.
Rowing For These Surfboaters, the Thrill of Victory By KIRSTY SUCATO Published: February 4, 2007 NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP
IT was 19 degrees at daybreak one recent Sunday at the Shark River Inlet, which joins the ocean just north of Belmar. Three numb-mouthed fishermen abandoned a dock, cursing the icy weather and the green crabs that stole their bait. A creamy sulfur sunrise gave way to a feathery sky.
Suddenly, hundreds of startled gulls alighted from the whitewash-tipped pilings of the Shark River Hills Marina. Six sturdy rowing skiffs appeared in the east. Two men in each boat kept a powerful syncopation, their spines bending like bows, pointing toward the boat ramp and breakfast.
“Woo! Coffee and eggs!” whooped one rower, grinning and covered in freezing sweat.
These men, former Jersey Shore lifeguards, are consistently ranked the best surfboat rowers in the nation. Monmouth County men won the top three spots in the Shark River Hills Marina championships the last two years, beating Californians and Floridians with their warmer weather and salaried lifeguards.
With little public recognition and virtually no outside financing, the Monmouth rowers say they do it for fun.
“It’s about the competition, it’s about the camaraderie; it’s about the friendships, the traveling,” said David Healy, 46, of Neptune, an assistant principal at Middletown High School North who won the open surfboat race at the United States Lifesaving Association’s competition in Huntington Beach, Calif., in August with his rowing partner, Warren Towns, 40, of Ocean Township.
“It’s a means by which, especially in our busy lives, we can somehow stay in shape,” Mr. Healy said. “Nobody wants to go in the basement and work out on the treadmill. It gets boring after a while. This never gets boring.”
The rowers train year-round, often in the dark before dawn, in places like the Shark River, where they vie for position with party boats, and in Deal Lake in Asbury Park, where homeless men dig shelters in littered banks beneath a railway bridge.
“It’s like Nascar at seven miles an hour,” said Paul Elyseev, 37, a glass blower from Ocean Grove.
He and his rowing partner, Jack Green, 30, an owner of a construction company in Ocean Grove, won their age class and placed second over all in Huntington Beach. They operate a snowplowing business to pay for their travel expenses.
“It’s kind of funny because one year out in California they introduced the teams,” Mr. Elyseev said. “Everyone had their uniforms; everyone’s out there parading, and here comes Monmouth County looking just like this” — dressed in workout clothes. “And we still kicked everyone’s tail.”
The boats, 19 feet long and 300 pounds, resemble the Sea Bright Skiff, a 19th-century wooden fishing vessel once used for lifesaving and now for lifeguard competitions. In 1993, an Asbury Park boat builder, Bob Asay, who now lives in Florida, built a fiberglass version with a false bottom and holes in the sides to allow water to escape. It is now the gold standard for surfboat competitions, racing in waves as high as 16 feet.
Since 1994, Monmouth County rowers have won six national contests. Florida rowers have won four and California three. Races consist of three loops on a 1,000-meter surf course, with two stops on the beach in which one of the rowers runs to a judge’s line and back to the boat.
Despite their success, many veterans fear that, in an age of Jet Skis, the sport will die for lack of interest.
In September, Mr. Healy and others formed the Jersey Shore Rowing Association to attract new members, men and women. The group, with about 30 rowers, recently received its first major sponsorship, $5,000, from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. Members are planning to introduce rowing to municipal junior lifeguard programs.
As the oarsmen finished breakfast sandwiches at a cafe near the Shark River, they left gradually, one to shop for oars, one to straighten his woodpile, one to the library, another to care for a child with the flu. They would see one another again soon: Wednesday, 4:30 a.m., if the river didn’t freeze.