BELMAR, NJ — Belmar emerged victorious in this year’s Howard Rowland Lifeguard Tournament, held on Monday, July 8 along the 10th Avenue beach.

The borough’s beach patrol took first place in the traditional competition, which featured eight lifeguard crews competing in nine events that tested their skills, strength and stamina in the water and on the sand.

Belmar beat out squads from Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Long Branch, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch and Spring Lake in a variety of running, swimming and paddling contests.

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The tournament is named in honor of Harold Rowland, who is known as a legend among Belmar lifeguards, serving as chief lifeguard from the early 1930s to 1988. “We want to carry on his legacy and keep his name alive,” said lifeguard director Harry Harsin in a video posted on the Belmar Lifeguards’ Facebook page.

Harsin is among four members of the current crew trained by Rowland, who devoted himself to water safety during his 50-year tenure along the Belmar beachfront.

The tournament win came at the same time a piece of Rowland’s legacy came “home ” — a memorial plaque dedicated to his accomplishments that has been on display at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Since that facility is undergoing a major renovation, former Belmar lifeguard John Gepp, who now lives in Florida, brought the plaque to Belmar, where it will soon hang in the Rowland 10th Avenue Pavilion — headquarters for beachfront police, fire, first aid and lifeguard operations that has been named in his honor.

In photo above, Belmar Mayor Mark Walisfer, far right, accepts the Howard Rowland memorial plaque from Gepp, who is joined by Tim O’ Donnell, lifeguard director Harry Harsin, James Cosgrove and Doug Sterner, all of whom worked for Rowland during his tenure.

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