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Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps

Jones Beach ● Robert Moses ● Sunken Meadow ● Heckscher ● Wildwood ● Orient Point ● Hither Hills ● Montauk Downs

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Steve McGrain

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mcgrain1

The star-crossed life of an All-American - Steve McGrain (1950-2010) was a swimmer, a surfer, a dreamer...
by Jim Harmon

The exuberant Matthew McConaughey look-alike in the photo at right is Stephen Vincent McGrain, one of the most talented athletes in Nassau County history. In August 1972 McGrain was 22 and a newly minted graduate of North Carolina State University. This was his sixth summer as a Jones Beach lifeguard, and he beamed for the camera after helping his colleagues at Field 6 win that season’s inter-beach competition. If beers were not already being passed around, they soon would be.

Few members of the corps were as strong in a pool or the ocean as McGrain, who grew up in Westbury and learned to swim at the Town of Hempstead’s Carman Avenue pool. Recruited by the swimming powerhouse Plainview-Old Bethpage High School, he won New York state titles in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle, set a state record in the 200 and was twice named a high school All-American. At 5 feet 9 he was not on the scale of the Spitzes and Phelpses who would come to dominate the sport, but with sinewy arms and the chest and shoulders of a bodybuilder, McGrain was sheer power in the water, and held in awe by competitors across Long Island.

“He was such a stud,” recalls attorney Roy Lester, an all-county swimmer at Long Beach High in the late 1960s who had a Newsday picture of McGrain taped on the wall in his room and lost, by a lot, every time they went head to head in the backstroke.

Offered a full scholarship by N.C. State, McGrain quickly mastered longer freestyle races, won four individual Atlantic Coast Conference titles as a freshman and sophomore and was named a collegiate All-American. He studied biology and zoology, and as far as anyone knew, he was prepping for medical school. He became an accomplished painter, wrote poetry, dabbled in Buddhism and Hinduism, lifted serious weights. In his summers on the beach he did all of those things unless there were waves, when he surfed.

full article click here

 

Pirate for the Sea

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pirate of the seaRon Colby

A long time ago, Ron Colby was an ocean lifeguard at Jones Beach for about ten summers. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles and worked as a filmmaker. He was astonished to learn that a lot of the lifeguards he had worked with all those years ago were still working the beach. So, over a period of two or three weeks during a few summers, he filmed those guys (and others) who had been guarding for thirty, forty, fifty, and in the case of one extraordinary individual, sixty-four years. The film touches on their lifestyle, and what keeps them coming back to the beach year after year.

Ron Colby's new documentary “Pirate for the Sea” will be on Discovery’s Planet Green on Saturday, March 6th at 10 PM. Catch it if you can.

All that’s good, Ron

Ron Blake Colby spent the summers of 2005 & 2006 shooting and interviewing for his fantastic Jones Beach Boys documentary. It is a top quality video that is visually pleasing with good music and some really classic interviews. I give it 4 whistles. Please be sure to purchase a copy for your collection: order it on line at http://www.artistsconfederacy.com/

http://www.siff.net/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=28869&FID=123
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0170373/

 

Parks Rally

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Parks Rally


 


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