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Ventnor City wins Bill Howarth Women's Invitational on home beach

Ventnor City wins Bill Howarth Women's Invitational on home beach

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VENTNOR — Stacey Price gave the Ventnor City Beach Patrol a lot to cheer about as she helped her patrol win the 25th annual Bill Howarth Women’s Lifeguard Invitational on Thursday.

She began the evening with winning the doubles row with Katie Fisher. With about 200 feet left to the finish line, the two caught a swell at the right time to surge into a commanding lead over Margate twins Kristine and Amanda Auble.

Ventnor finished in 15 minutes, 49 seconds. The Aubles finished in 16:11, and Atlantic City’s Juliana Granese and Raina Roche finished third in 16:17.

Ventnor won two events and finished with 15 points. The event followed a 5-4-3-2-1 point format for each race.

Price said she was initially concerned by the size of the swells after practicing in the morning.

“I was pretty nervous this morning,” said Price, 23, of Ventnor, “but I just realized I always do my best when I stay calm and collected and just take the time to just analyze what’s going on and just do the best that I can from there.”

The runner-up finish was the first by the Aubles this season. A win would have given them a sweep of the race in all four of the area’s women’s lifeguard events. Margate finished with seven team points, putting them in a four-way tie with Longport, Ocean City and Wildwood Crest. Margate earned second place for having the best finish in the doubles row among the four patrols. Longport earned third with its fourth-place finish in the doubles row.

After Wildwood Crest’s Adrienne Bilello won the swim in 10:15, Price got back in the boat to give Ventnor a singles row win in 4:40.

In both races, her boat managed to catch the perfect late swell to secure the wins.

“Sometimes, there’s absolutely no timing (the waves),” Price said. “Because in the heat of a race, you’re just trying to be the first one in.

“The ocean is just literally all luck. I mean, you never know what you’re going to get on race day.”

She then helped Ventnor secure the team win with a runner-up finish in the surf dash. Ventnor and Sea Isle City seemed to switch between first and second with each leg, but Sea Isle’s Mandi Basantis got the edge to give her team the win.

“I knew I wasn’t going to lose, because this is my last race,” said Basantis, 22, of Medford.

Basantis will be attending graduate school at the University of Virginia starting this fall. She was happy to end her lifeguard career with a bang.

“I was just really excited when everyone (on my team) was screaming,” Basantis said.

The event, formerly known as the Cape Atlantic Women’s Lifeguard Invitational, was renamed in honor of the late Bill Howarth. The former Ventnor Beach Patrol Captain died of cancer in 2016.

Current Ventnor captain Gary Howarth, Bill’s brother, was emotional after the win.

“I just know my brother Billy is looking down from Heaven,” Howarth said. “And he’s very happy.

“And I think he stirred up the seas a little, too.”

Contact: 609-272-7210 Twitter @ACPressAustin

GALLERY: Bill Howarth Women’s Lifeguard Invitational

Contact: 609-272-7210

Twitter @ACPressAustin

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