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Student lifeguards appreciate convenience of working on campus

Lifeguarding can fit perfectly into University life, especially when the pool is part of the University. It keeps students active in campus life and they can make a few extra bucks on the side.

The St. Denis Centre located on College Avenue prides itself on hiring strictly student lifeguards who keep coming back every year.

Alex Noble has returned for her third consecutive year lifeguarding at the St. Denis pool. She says the people bring her back every year.

“This is a safe pool,” says Noble. “I have never had to do a rescue and I don’t know anyone who has. A majority of the time it is just people swimming lengths.”

First-year guard Lauren Sharpe says the reason she applied for the job is that it was so close and can help her gain experience.

And Lauren Von Bulow, also going into her third year, says that guarding on campus is a great way to make friends: “We’re are all students, so we can relate to one another.”

The job of a lifeguard is no doubt straining. According to the National Lifesaving Society (NLS), in order to stay up to standards, guards must spend a minimum of two hours per month training physically and mentally to prepare themselves for situations—such as drowning victims—that they hope will never occur. They must also keep up to date with all first aid standards, which change approximately every five years based on new research.

For the past 20 years, physical standards for all lifeguards have stayed the same, but in May 2012 the National Lifesaving Society changed its certification program to focus more on fitness standards and timing components. Some of these changes have included a 60-second head up front crawl time and a 25-meter tow in 90 seconds.

Josh Leeman, instructor trainer and NLS certifier at the St. Denis Centre, welcomes the new standards.

“I believe it is a positive thing,” he says.  “We need to be quick and effective when a situation does occur.”

Because of the new standards, the St. Denis Centre has made a 16-length swim mandatory for all new and returning lifeguards. The staff must also show up for mandatory training sessions monthly.

The St. Denis Centre hires new guards every fall semester, as long as they have all of their bronze cross, bronze medallion, NLS certifications, and can pass the physical swim standards. The pool has a full staff for 2012/13, but will be taking new applications in the summer and next fall for the 2013/14 year. The pool also hires swimming and aquatic instructors for those who have their qualifications. To apply, simply e-mail a resume to Leeman at jleeman@uwindsor.ca .

—article and photo by Jess Craymer