Event After Event

Big events are fun, but when the same thing is happening over and over again with little to no change it becomes a bore and tedious. Swim meets are only fun when you are swimming in the meet. When you are constantly on the side lines just watching the same four strokes happen again and again, you would rather kill yourself. Each meet is divided into a million different parts called events and in each event the boys and girl race against their own sexes while performing a specific stroke. Free style, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke; Freestyle is the simplest stroke where one arm follows another in a what looks like a windmill motion while your legs are constantly kicking behind you. Breaststroke is a more of a resting stroke where your legs kick in unison like a frog and your arms pull water towards you and shoot back out together as you kick. The butterfly stroke is the most tiring stroke where you move both arms in a windmill motion at the same time while kicking both legs together like a mermaid. Backstroke is just like freestyle but on your back with your arms reaching over your head and pulling water down towards your legs. Since there are so many people who swim in each event it takes two hours or more. After it is over, all involved in the swim meet leave a giant mess behind made special for the lifeguards to clean up and that’s when the fun actually begins.


Toasty and Tender

Twilight vampires Shimmer like diamonds in the light, but since we people are not vampires we tend to burn when exposed to just enough sun. As a lifeguard, you spend a lot of time in the sun and because of this we get pretty tan and if we get too much sun we burn, bad. The pain is excruciating, the lightest touch will lead you straight to pure agony and the most minuscule amount of movement feels like you are ripping apart your own skin. Although the color red is pretty on its own, it is also one of the ugliest colors to see all over your skin. Anytime you walk past a mirror this vibrant color will have you looking like a freshly boiled lobster. Then comes the peeling, my favorite part. If you scratch any burnt part of your body then flakes of dead sin will begin to fall like snow, think of it as having dandruff but all over your body. Sometimes you’ll be able to peel off long pieces of skin kind of like a snake when it sheds its skin.

To avoid this, there are a few preventative measures you can take. Sunscreen is your best friend and you must apply it as if it were perfume and you stunk as bad as a skunk. Second, an umbrella not only keeps you dry from the rain but shades you from the harsh sun rays. Last, you are sitting or standing, staring at a body of water to cool yourself off in so take advantage of that so you don’t pass out from the heat.

Not So Easy Breezy

The only things you have to worry about when being a lifeguard are sun bathing, and watching the water to make sure no one is drowning. Wrong, there is a little bit more to the job than that. Tons of pool maintenance and facility maintenance is involved along with meetings every Friday that include a bit of skill practice and a whole lot of swimming. You’d think that one wouldn’t mind the water with this job but I hate getting wet, so swimming is my least favorite part of this profession. Before we start swimming, the lane lines have to be changed from fifty meters to twenty-five meters. They are also known as long course and short course. After that, everyone gets together for a brief meeting to talk about any updates at the different pool facilities. Then, once the lane lines are situated and the meeting is out of the way, the swimming portion begins. Everyone is expected to do a timed, three-hundred-meter swim with no breaks. Then another form of water exercise is to be completed such as treading for five minutes straight. It doesn’t sound like a long time but when you’re the one treading it feels like a lifetime. The next part is reviewing CPR, then practicing rescues with each other and CPR on a dummy. Last but not least, deep cleaning the entire facility. Although it sounds ridiculous there was a time that even the pool deck was moped; Not a fun time.

Seasonal Situation

Being a summer guard, or seasonal guard, is equal to being a grunt. This position is the lowest of the low when it comes to life guarding because the only things involved are custodial work, and guarding the patrons in the pool and on the pool deck. Usually one starts off as a seasonal guard and works their way up to a leader one, then a leader two, and so on until they stay long enough to maybe become a site supervisor or higher. Sometimes, it can take more than one or two summers to become a leader one. Luckily, it only took me one season. Along with custodial work and guarding, seasonal guards also get audited. In an audit a number of things can be portrayed as a “victim”: A red ball, a silhouette, a shadow dummy, a “Timmy” doll, and even one of the higher ups can jump in and play dead. Whatever or whomever the victim is has to be recognized and pulled out of the water in thirty seconds or less, then one would begin the steps in saving the victim’s life. The audits are put in place to practice for a real situation in case anything was to happen. Me, myself was never audited as a summer guard but I was always on my toes and ready for action.


Becoming a lifeguard


I heard about the lifeguard job I have now, through a friend of mine. She told me it was a seasonal job over at bobby hicks pool, which was right across the street from my high school, that payed ten dollars an hour and to a teenager that sounded amazing. She then gave me some background information on CPR and what it’s like to work at the pool and helped me with the application. Before I was able to start I had to take physical tests in the water that I had practiced doing many days prior and become certified in CPR, life-guarding skills, and a number of other things. The certification part was easy. All I had to do was pay attention and study, plus most of it was common sense. Doing the physical tests were tougher for me because I wasn’t the most fit at the time. There were four parts to the physical part, a three-hundred swim, the brick, treading, and rescues. The swim was to be done with rhythmic breathing and without switching from one way of swimming to another in the middle of the swim; for example, if I push off the wall and start swimming free-style then I can’t switch to breast stroke until I get to the other wall. The brick test involved a ten-pound brick that was dropped twenty-five meters away from you. The objective is to swim to the brick, dive down to pick it up, swim back to the wall on your back while keeping both hands on the brick, then getting yourself and the brick out of the water in under a minute and forty-five seconds. Treading was easy for me since I naturally float. For this part, you are to tread for three minutes without using your hands. I could’ve gone for five or ten minutes but then I’d just be showing off. The last one was the rescues, you were to go through a series of situations where your victim is active, passive or has some type of head, neck, or spinal injury. The active and passive victims are the easiest because less steps are involved but the head, neck, or spinal injury has a lot of steps to it since you have to be more careful. After I passed everything in the training, I was finally able to go through the hiring process. It took a month but was worth it because I am now a part of the permanent staff making eleven ninety-two an hour for sun bathing and minimal custodial work.