VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – This week, lifeguards from across the nation are showing off their skills at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront as part of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s USLA National Lifeguard Championships.

It takes a lot of skill and conditioning to save lives in our nation’s waters, so many of the top lifeguards from around the country are in Virginia Beach to see who’s the best.

There’s a lot of fierce competition as waves of lifeguards compete in various physical competitions like paddleboard races, an open swim and a lifesaving contest.

“He’s got to swim out there really fast and I’ve got to swim out there even faster,” said Colin Veit, a lifeguard for Jones Beach in Long Island, N.Y.

Veit was getting ready to rescue one of his teammates, posing as a victim in the water, then bring him back to shore so some other team members could also bring him back to shore.

Veit’s team won their heat of the competition. The Rescue Race is just one of the many competitions happening this weekend.

Lifeguards also compete in an open swim, running races in the sand and a paddleboard competition.

Lifeguards of all ages, from 9 all the way to 75-years-old, are hitting the sand to show off their skills.

Being a lifeguard is no easy task, as it takes a lot of skill and a certain level of fitness to be able to save lives everyday in the water.

“A big part of being a lifeguard is being physically fit, and it motivates me to stay in top shape all the time,” said William Sodano, 56, from Sea Girt, New Jersey.

Sodano took a break from competing, but is back in the water this year.

Organizers say this competition is like the centerpiece in the lifesaving world and it’s cool to have it in Virginia Beach this year.

Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service Chief Tom Gill says he hopes it inspires some future lifeguards too.

“That’s really what our goal is, to get more people involved in life safety and working as lifeguards around the country,” Gill said.

“When I can’t lifeguard anymore, those are the kids that are going to be lifeguarding for us, they become the next generation of lifeguards,” Sodano said.

Young future lifeguards like Darby and Caly, who are ready to hop in the chair soon.

“It’s nice to just be at the beach and I think its a really cool way to earn money,” Caly said.

“It’s in my blood,” Darby said. “It just seems like a really fun summer job and I’ve seen the connections you make with best friends.”

The competition is going on until Sunday.

Click here for the schedule of events.

Here are local winners of the Junior Guards competition from Wednesday:

Surf Swim Race (an individual event in which Junior Guards swim out and around the two designated buoys and finish through the funnel on the beach)

Boys Under-19 (15-18)

Colin Mamaril – Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association

Rescue Race (Four competitors from each team participate in this event: a “victim”, one rescue tube swimmer, and two rescuers. The victim swims approximately 120m to a designated buoy, signals, and waits to be rescued by the rescue tube swimmer. As they return to shore, the remaining two rescuers enter the water to assist. The event finishes when the first competitor in a team crosses the finish line. In the A, B, and C divisions, this is a two-person event where one Junior Guard serves as a “victim” and one Junior Guard serves as the rescuer.)

Boys Under-19 (15-18)

Connor Bradley, Colin Mamaril, Davis Pelton, Owen Comeyne – Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association

Run-Swim-Run (An individual event in which Junior Guards run a set distance on the beach, then swim out and around two buoys and back then finish with a second beach run.)

Boys Under-19 (15-18)

Colin Mamaril – Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association