10 Hot Lifeguards

1 JUSTIN DIRICO“They’re afraid of nepotism,” says Justin Dirico, whose membership in one of Jones Beach’s dozen or so lifeguarding dynasties shut him out of a coveted spot on the ocean his rookie year. “I think I was good enough to go on the ocean the first year. The feeling was, I guess, ‘Wait your turn.’ But I’m here now; that’s all that counts.” Boardshorts by Diesel, $45 at Diesel Superstore, New York (www.diesel.com).

On working with brother Dennis: “We made one save together,” says Derek Angermaier. “We saw the arms flailing, heard screaming for help. He swam out with the buoy, I went out on a line, and another lifeguard pulled us in. Like most saves, a lot of people lined up on the beach to watch. It’s like having an audience – they all cheered at the end. You’re very modest when you get out. Just hop back up on the stand.” Boardshorts by Quiksilver, $48 at Quiksilver Boardriders Club stores nationwide (www.quiksilver.com).

“It’s a fountain of youth,” says Bruce Meirowitz, a high-school photography teacher who has worked on Jones Beach for 33 years. “I have a better time on the swim at 50 than I did at 17. At that age, I couldn’t imagine still being a lifeguard even at 35. Now we kick those kids’ asses in a pull-up contest.” Swim trunks by D&G, $60 at D&G NYC Boutique.

Younger guards like Rich Tuffini have a fascination with the beach’s legendary swimmers, among them “the Seal,” “the Whale,” and one gargantuan man who passes us near the field house. “That guy, they call him ‘the Human Fish,’ ” Tuffini whispers in awe. “He comes out of nowhere, swims from the horizon. Look at his ribs real close – they’re gills.” Swim trunks by Vilebrequin, $109 at Vilebrequin boutiques and Barneys New York.

“Fourth of July, it’s the most crowded day, but it’s also the coolest,” Mike Agostinacchio says. “Everyone has to work that day and we usually go out afterwards. We take a photo because it’s the only time it happens.” Sandbar shorts by American Eagle Outfitters, $36 at American Eagle Outfitters (www.ae.com).

On being part of a dynasty: “Dad’s 53, so he’s spent 37 years on the beach. He started before he met Mom and never missed a summer. Being a lifeguard was just something we grew up with. Now that we all work on the same beach, my brother Derek and I jog down to meet Dad for lunch sometimes.” Gap sport short, $19.50 at Gap stores nationwide (www.gap.com).

“It’s called perving,” says Jim Dirico, who has worked with Bruce Meirowitz for 30 years, “and Brucie is the king. He’ll go out on the jetty with binoculars, hanging out until he sees a girl coming topless on a boat. Something to do during downtime.” J.Crew boardshorts, $42 at J.Crew stores nationwide. (www.jcrew.com)

Every fateful decision in saving a life is made in the ten-second run from the stand to the water, “unless you’re me and it takes five seconds,” Kevin Rooney says, laughing, then gets serious. “You can’t see more than a foot below the surface here. That stuff you see in Baywatch – diving down to the bottom – doesn’t happen. When a person goes beneath the surface in the Atlantic, they’re gone.” Boardshorts by J.Crew, $42.

Danielle Schoen is remarkably at ease for a woman who’s often outnumbered by the male lifeguards four to one. “You get a whistle here and there from the beach, but nothing more. The guys I work with all know I have a serious boyfriend.” Bikini by A/X Armani Exchange, $34 each piece at A/X Armani Exchange stores nationwide (www.armaniexchange.com).

“He has a shrine in his room!” says Rooney, who works with Cary Epstein at Field 4. “Yeah,” Epstein admits, “my license plate used to say baywatch – it was my nickname.” How, then, did he handle the recent cancellation of Baywatch Hawaii? “Let’s just say I was very upset.” Boardshorts by Quiksilver, $48.

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10 Hot Lifeguards