When I asked Avalon Beach Patrol for an outstanding guard to profile, an officer suggested twenty-year-old Matt O’Donoghue. Now in his fifth season on the beach patrol, Matt expressed that lifeguarding has always been a dream of his. “I’ve been coming down to Avalon all my life. Seeing the lifeguards, it always looked like the best job. Obviously, it’s an important job too,” added Matt. It definitely seems that to Matt, the job has proven to be as great as it always seemed. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in Avalon and get to interact with them on a daily basis. It’s awesome,” stated Matt enthusiastically.
Matt has quickly become an important asset on the Avalon lifeguarding team and was actually gearing up to compete the evening of the day I interviewed him. A graduate of Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Matt O’Donoghue was a member of the Saint Joseph’s crew team and has since continued his rowing career at Yale University. There, he trains as a member of the lightweight team. As a representative of the Avalon Beach Patrol during the summer season, Matt competes in a doubles boat with partner Matt Wolf.
Matt enjoys surfing when off the lifeguarding clock. And even in his down time, he loves to row. “I have a rowing boat that I like to take out on the bay,” he explained. Originally from Haddonfield, Matt now calls New York City his home. But most of his time is spent at Yale University studying mechanical engineering. When he completes his time at Yale, Matt hopes to yet again advance his rowing career. “My goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympics,” Matt informed me. “First, you have to get invited to train with the national team. Then, you have to make the boat. Finally, the boat has to qualify,” he explained. While the process sounds quite involved, Matt remains determined.
Meet this talented rower and Olympic hopeful at his permanent stand on Avalon’s 35th Street Beach. Cape May County wishes you the best of luck, Matt!
By Megan Kummer