An undertow. A Portuguese man-of-war. A slippery jetty. They're all reasons why lifeguards are our friends. You can cheer on those protectors of human life at the 2003 Night Swim in Galveston, where lifeguards will flaunt their Hasselhoffian skills. They'll perform feats of physical prowess that sound just exhausting: diving with equipment, running through thick sand, swimming to a buoy (and back) -- even squat thrusts. And the competition's coed, to boot. "It's like an initiation to see if you can hang," says Andi Zarro of the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors' Bureau, noting that beachgoers should feel safe in the proximity of such tough specimens. "I think it's awesome." It's good to know that under all that SPF 30, lifeguards give a damn about saving lives. Why else would they subject themselves to such abuse? 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 23. Flagship Hotel Pier, 2501 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston. For more information, call 1-888-425-4753, or visit www.galvestoncvb.com. -- Eric Norvell
Experience what mounted cops do every day. Capricorn Equine Services' horses are available for three- to five-hour rides through the Sam Houston National Forest. But don't expect a dreary, nose-to-tail ride. Capricorn's horses have minds of their own and will even canter, if you're nice to them. 21688 Allyson Road, Magnolia. For information, call 281-356-3452. $75 to $100 (rides should be booked at least a week in advance). -- Troy Schulze
Here's a claim to fame for H-town: The state's top-ranked women's open division tennis player is our very own Laura Ritchey-Thomas. She'll be showing off her skills, along with other pros and college players, at this weekend's Houston Pro Tennis Classic. Sunday, May 25, through Sunday, June 1. Downtown Club at the Met, One Allen Center. For a full schedule, call 713-652-0700. Free, but donations are requested. -- Cathy Matusow
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