For 49 years, the annual John T. Goudy Memorial Rescue Races are attracted those committed to lifesaving along the Jersey coast. Last night, the races were held in at Suffolk Avenue beach in Ventnor.
The Goudy’s include doubles surfboat rescue, individual swim rescue, a combination rescue (where a crew and a swimmer work together), and the individual surfboat rescue. Participating beach patrols in the South Jersey area include Atlantic City, Lavallette, Ship Bottom, Island Beach State Park, Harvey Cedars and Normandy Beach.
“From a beach start, we sprint 200 meters off shore to a 50-pound bag of rocks that we then drag back to shore, lift and carry 20 meters up the beach to the finish,” explains competitor Bruckner Chase.
“This bag slows even the fastest and most motivated swimmer to a sub-kicking pace. This bag to many ocean athletes takes all the joy out of a return 200 meters that was fun and light on the way out.”
The Funk family has been standouts for decades in the annual competition.
37-year-old David Funk of the Ventnor Beach Patrol has won 11 Goudy titles and 9 South Jersey Lifeguard Championship titles ever since becoming a lifeguard at 14 in 1992. His younger brother Margate’s Ashton Funk also has nine South Jersey Lifeguard Championship titles as a rower. His father Dennis Funk, who still competes, won three consecutive South Jersey doubles titles with partner George Miller from 1973-1975. Andrew Funk, David’s twin brother, won six South Jersey race championships before retiring after the 2003 season.
David says, “The Goudys from a Ventnor standpoint is huge. It’s named after an awesome man (John Goudy]. Whether it’s a swimmer with a rescue can or a rower in a surfboat, we practice rescue. We pride ourselves in being well-versed in the boat. We have a history of success in the Goudys.”
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