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Students gain valuable experiences from lifeguarding

January 14, 2016

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Junior Courtney Carroll sits at her lifeguarding station at the Evelyn Kirrane Aquatics center. Students at the high school say that they have learned valuable lessons from lifeguarding. Photo by Petra Huang for the Sagamore.

The smell of chlorine hangs in the air. Lifeguards mount their chairs overlooking the crowded pool. The lap pool is full of swimmers performing the crawl, backstroke, butterfly and more. Kids jump off of the diving boards, splash in the lesson pool and search for toys in the deep end.

For many students at the high school, spending an afternoon of guarding other people swimming at the Evelyn Kirrane Aquatics Center has taught them a variety of skills that have carried over to other aspects of their lives.

At the nearby pool, lifeguards rotate around the pool guarding different areas, help to open and close the pool and ensure there is a safe atmosphere around the pool area.

According to junior Ofri Arbel, in addition to maintaining a safe atmosphere in the pool, lifeguards also take many preventative measures for the future.

“We believe very much in preventing bad things from happening, rather than having to deal with them later,” Arbel said. “So, if we see anyone not following the rules or doing anything unsafe, we address it right away.”

Senior Michael Levin thinks it would be difficult for him to effectively lifeguard if he focused on how much responsibility he has.

“I try to think about something else, and if anything arises then I’ll focus on it,” Levin said.

Arbel has also gained a lot of confidence from lifeguarding, which has helped her be more comfortable in a variety of situations.

“I can walk around the street knowing that if someone I know or just a normal citizen on the street faints or whatever, I know how to deal with it and just how to stay calm in situations that might make a person really nervous,” Arbel said.

Junior Ariel Cohen has gained a lot of patience from working with young kids while lifeguarding.

“There’s a lot of times where you have to deal with kids who just don’t listen and you have to be nice; you can’t just yell at them,” Cohen said.

When Cohen was snorkeling on a trip in Israel, one of the girls on the trip started to drown and he was able to swim her to shore.

“It was nice because the instructor didn’t do anything, so had I not known how to save, or had that not been a reflex from my training, then she would have had a much harder time or something serious could have happened,” Cohen said.

“We believe very much in preventing bad things from happening, rather than having to deal with them later. So, if we see anyone not following the rules or doing anything unsafe, we address it right away.””

— Ofri Arbel, junior

Lifeguarding at the Evelyn Kirrane Aquatics Center has taught Levin how to manage his money.

“It was my first job, so I learned a lot about making money and learning how to save up money and manage my money,” Levin said. “I got my first debit card and I was able to learn how to manage it well and not spend too much, save up, all that kind of stuff.”

Arbel recognizes the large amount of responsibility she carries lifeguarding.  

“I think you realize just how serious it is, and how you always always have to keep your eyes on the water, and you can never trust anyone in the water,” Arbel said. “It’s all your responsibility, and it’s a great thing, but you can’t take it for granted.”

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