Today, I spent most of the day in class at the J.  We ended up with 6 students for the class.  We’ll meet a total of 4 Sundays.

For the first half of the class, we spent time in a conference room.  We covered things like:

  • introductions and schedule
  • what it means to be a professional lifeguard
  • making decisions using the FIND method (figure out the problem, identify solutions, pros and cons, decide on best and act)
  • legal things to consider
  • continuing ed
  • EAP (facility specific emergency action plans)
  • rescue equipment
  • surveillance and scanning
  • victim recognition
  • communication with patrons
  • preventing injuries
  • incident reports
  • water rescue skills

After a series of videos and discussion, we broke for a break and met back up in the pool.  Next on the agenda was our prerequisite tests and rescue skills.

As we gathered at the pool and space was available, we began to swim our 300 yards.  Our instructor Lyle asked for 1/2 crawl and 1/2 breaststroke.  This would be 6 lengths of each.  I almost panicked since the official prerequisites call for either stroke and I had only practiced the crawl.  Lyle said it was ok and I told him that I’d be working on my breaststroke.  Since I had practiced, the distance (without stopping) was no problem.  Most of the class didn’t have any trouble.  I think one person needs to work on it a bit, but he hadn’t swam since summer.

Next up was treading water.  We had to tread without using our arms for 2 minutes.  It looked easy for everyone.

Lastly, was the test where we needed to swim almost a length, dive for the brick, retrieve it and swam to back to the shallow end on our back.  It ends with getting out of the water without use of the ladder.  I really don’t know how everyone did.  Personally, I made it back to the wall in 1:35, but it took me several tries to exit the pool.  So, I need to work on getting out a little faster and a speedier swim.  All in all, it was great for me especially since we had just swam 300 yards and treaded water.

Overall, I am happy with how I did with the prerequisites.  I’m going to work on the breaststroke and building up my endurance.  To be employed at the JCC, Lyle requires a 500 yard swim.  I want to make sure it’s not a problem.

After everyone completed the prerequisites, we started working on rescue skills.  We covered things such as:

  • entries (slide-in, stride jump, compact jump)
  • assists
  • rescuing near the surface, submerged and multiple victim

The only thing that really gave me trouble was the stride jump.  With a stride jump, your head is not supposed to go under water.  The purpose is to allow you to keep a visual on the victim.  My first jump, I hit the bottom of the pool.  I really felt a lot of impact in my left (bad) knee.  Ouch!  I was more surprised at first.  I made several other attempts during the class.  None of them were great, but I did feel some improvement toward the end of class.  I definitely need to practice this one.

With 6 of us in the class, the skills part went quickly and even with a break, we were able to leave a little bit early today.  I’m glad we have a small class.

Once I arrived at home, I felt exhausted, sore and famished.  I didn’t really count how many times we got in and out of the water and swam around, but it was lots.  Next week, I need to plan my food and liquids better.  The class is physically and mentally challenging.  It’s also exactly what I need right now.

I’m nervous about my knee and hope that spinning tomorrow feels great.  I’m scheduled to practice swimming Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week.  Here’s to a great week!