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Nov 25, 2019

Middletown Residents Medal at National Lifeguard Championships

By Les Pierce

Alex Piasecki claimed two gold medals.

Middletown residents Alex Piasecki and Caroline and Maddie Ireland demonstrated they could compete at the national level at the annual United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Junior Lifeguard Championships held in Virginia Beach. The competition is segregated into four divisions by age, U19 Division (16 to 18), A Division (14 to 15), B Division (12 to 13) and C Division (9 to 11). The trio represented the Monmouth County team, and they are members of the Long Branch Junior Lifeguards.

Piasecki netted two gold medals competing in the A Division. His first win came in the Beach Flags event. In this competition, an extensive series of one-on-one qualification rounds are conducted with participants sprinting on the sand and diving to grasp a planted flag. Piasecki defeated Colin Schaefer, of Hampton Lifeguard Association (New York), in the final heat to claim the victory. Nicholas Graessle, of the Capitola Beach Lifeguard Association (California), finished third.

Piasecki went on to capture a second gold in the Distance Run, a 2-mile test of endurance on the sand. He also placed eighth in the Paddle Board. This was his third trip to the national competition. Last year, he took bronze in both the Beach Flags and Distance Run.

The 15-year-old is a sophomore at Middletown High School South. During his freshman year, he competed in cross county, swim and lacrosse for the Eagles.

Caroline Ireland earned a pair of bronze medals

Caroline Ireland also competed in the A Division where she claimed bronze medals in the Beach Flags and Run Swim Run events. She also finished fifth in the Distance Swim and seventh in the Paddle Board.

Ireland is a sophomore at Middletown High School South where she is a member of the swim team. Earlier this year, she was the top female finisher in the Avon Ocean Mile race.

Maddie Ireland placed in six events.

Carolineโ€™s sister, Maddie, earned a gold medal in the C Division Swim Relay. A five-member squad participates in this event. Sharing the top honors with Maddie were teammates Emily Sudol, Luke Sudol, Ellison Barrows and Ivy Slavinski.

Maddie partnered with Middletown resident Keira Whitaker to take fifth in the Rescue Race. Her other placings were fourth in the Beach Flags event, fourth in the Paddle Board race, fifth in the Distance Swim and sixth in the Run Swim Run.

She is a seventh grader at Thompson Middle School where she competes on the track team. Both Maddie and Caroline are members of the Red Bank YMCA swim team.