By Ron Matz

HART-MILLER ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Its an annual event in Maryland. A grueling competition for Maryland Park Service lifeguards. This year they competed on Hart-Miller Island in eastern Baltimore County, with six teams from all across the state participating.

“Each year we hire 120 lifeguards for all across the state to protect our public beaches, lakes and pools, so this is a day where they can come together and put their physical skills to the test and sees who rises to the top. We have six teams competing today,” said Brooke Bartko, Maryland park service park ranger.

There are four events including a triathlon, a rescue relay, obstacle course and a beach flag sand sprint.

“They look forward to this all summer, we encourage them to keep up on their skills and physical training throughout the year, it helps keep them high energy, alert and ready to go,” Bartko said.

The teams come from all across the state from Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland to Assateague on the eastern shore.

“It’s exciting because I’m into working out. There’s a lot of different things to do and try, it’s just fun to see all the people doing what they love,” said Grace Twigg, a lifeguard at Rocky Gap State Park.

The annual competition helps the lifeguards prepare for real life.

“We train all the time, every day,” Seth Horton, a lifeguard at Gunpowder State Park said. “We’re running, working out and lifting, you have to be in the peak of fitness to be ready to save lives,”

The event wouldn’t happen without the help of volunteers including the friends of Maryland State Parks and Charm City Run.

Winners in each category receive a gift card donated by local businesses. The Maryland Lifeguard Competition is held at a different state park each year.

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