Second in the Nation: Destin Lifeguards take silver

Savannah Chastain
From left to right back row; Chris Esibill, Rich Russell, Taylor Hardy, Olliver Puddick, Bobby Walsh, Chris Ritacco, Cooper Halligan, Phill Lloyd, Cameron Prosser, Matt Wise, Gary Wise. Front row; Chris Wise, Madison Quinn, Jourdan Perrin, Kathryn Moorby, and Bryce Orchard.

The Destin Beach Lifeguard crew has done it again. After taking first in the regional round of the United States Lifeguarding Association’s annual competition, Destin took second place in the National round August 7-9th in Virginia Beach, Va. The second place finish was based on an overall score for the division B category which represented lifeguard crews with less than 100 employees.

“As a team we finished second in the small beach patrol division,” said Beach Safety Chief Joe D’Agostino. “I’m really proud to see that our local athletes are starting to get top 10 in the country. I couldn’t be prouder of the crew and our community.”

The Destin lifeguards competed with more than 12 teams for the National title, and although they came in second overall, several members took first in individual races.

“We had national champions in the international iron man with Cooper Halligan, and the in surf ski race with Oliver Puddick,” said D’Agostino. Also of note was Christian Ritacco of Niceville who finished fourth in the 2K beach run.

The beach lifeguard crew will reduce in size after September 2, but lifeguards will remain on the beach through October 26 this year.

Overall, D’Agostino told The Log this season has been a good one for beach safety. “We haven’t had any drowning or close calls this year,” he said.