A LOOK AT HOW LIFEGUARDS AT THE LAURIER BRANTFORD YMCA WORK TO MAKE THE POOL SAFE FOR SWIMMERS.
By Alexandria Leask
The whole world seemed to freeze on March 14, the day before everything closed due to COVID-19. I remember walking with a friend the week before and talking about how the virus couldn’t be that bad, the government wouldn’t shut everything down. It wasn’t long before I was jobless and living off E. I., all while trying to tackle online learning and living with my family again.
I’m a lifeguard at the Laurier Brantford YMCA and I was working the Sunday before the government told everyone to stay home. When you’ve been a lifeguard for seven years, you tend to complain about how much you have to be in the water. We have seasonal trainings and lessons, as well as our own work-outs. I can confidently say that I will never complain about getting in the water ever again.
In normal circumstances, over the summer I work as a park attendant for the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie before the pool opens, and then I guard until the school year starts. I was able to get my job back as a park attendant, but they couldn’t afford to open the pool this year. It wasn’t until the YMCA announced its reopening that I thought about my lack of training over the past six months.
I received an email on August 21 reminding all returning staff that our pool training was in less than a week. That training took a toll on the guards. We didn’t realize how long we had been out of the water until our supervisor had us getting bricks off the bottom of the pool, swimming lengths and doing CPR. My legs were in pain and I felt like all the air had left my lungs. From then on, I made it a point to swim once a week and not take the pool for granted.