Student lifeguards make a splash

Jame Sewell

With the summer pool season right around the corner, many students are training to become lifeguards, senior Ben Wolf, Lifeguard at Flick Pool and Splash Landings Pool said. Lifeguards can change the course of peopleís lives, Wolf explained.

Glenview lifeguards go through extensive training to make sure they are prepared in the event of an emergency, Wolf said. As the first responders to the pool, it is critical that they are prepared for anything and everything, Wolf added. The training requires online and in person classes to educate people about the responsibilities of lifeguards. 

ìThereís online [training and an] actual class you have to take,î Wolf said. [We are taught] what to do in [and out of] water: CPR, choking, respiratory breaths, what to do for a stroke, heart attack, bee stings- everything. [There are also] ongoing [lessons that] you do every week to keep your skills sharp.

There has been a shortage of lifeguards recently, especially at beaches, Keith Macdonald, PE Teacher and former Lifeguard Training Teacher, said. Although the Lifeguard Training course at South has been discontinued for now, Macdonald believes lifeguarding is a great job for students that teaches responsibility.

ìMore children [ages] 1 to 4 die from drowning than any other cause; for ages 5 to 14, [drowning] is the second highest cause of death,î Macdonald said.

Lifeguards are often under a lot of pressure while working, sophomore Rebecca Brafman, Lifeguard at Flick Pool and Roosevelt Pool during the summer, and Splash Landings Pool during the other seasons, explained. However, these difficulties are just part of the job; despite the stresses they may cause, staying focused is key for lifeguards, Brafman said.

ìThereís times when the pool is crowded and it is incredibly overwhelming to try and watch over everyone,î Brafman said. ìWhen working outdoors, weather is often inconsistent and it is hard to remain focused when it is too hot or cold. [But] our primary job is to keep patrons safe.

Lifeguarding is appealing for a variety of reasons. In Wolfís case, it was his previous rescue experience. For Brafman, it was so she could use her swimming skills. For freshman and new lifeguard Catherine Pollock, it was the skills that lifeguarding can provide.

ì[I wanted] experience dealing with high pressure situations,î Pollock said. ìItís always good to have first aid knowledge.î 

Overall, lifeguards leave a huge impact on the community by protecting both children and adults, Wolf said. For the staff, they have become good friends, like a big family, Wolf stated. Beyond that, lifeguarding offers the guards a valuable sense of camaraderie. Wolf feels that lifeguarding has made him a better person.

ìIíve had a lot of rescues, Iíve worked a lot of hours,î Wolf said. ì[Lifeguarding has] made me a more durable person. [It] has given me a [better] work ethic and a desire to help my community. I find a lot of reward in it. It feels good to do the right thing.