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It’s Showtime: Lifeguard Life at HSC
Oct 14, 2019

Topic: Houston Swim Club 

The big white lifeguard stand sits adjacent to the pool. Perched at the top sits a young girl shaded from the sun by a white umbrella. She’s in full uniform: red bathing suit, red rescue tube, yellow whistle, and of course, cheap black sunglasses. The highlights in her hair and the tan on her skin have both been added naturally by the sun.

She sits casually as children swim and splash about below. She scans the far side of the pool where a few adults swim methodically in lanes designated for lap swim. She blows three short whistle blasts, hollers “clear the pool, please” and slowly climbs down the ladder to begin her 15-minute break.

Can you picture it? We’ve all seen scenarios like this, especially on TV and in the movies. While Hollywood has led us to believe that the job of a lifeguard is easy, relaxed, and stress-free, there’s really nothing farther from the truth. The job of a lifeguard is hard, demanding, and (sometimes) stressful, yet very rewarding all at the same time. And that is especially the case for those who hold lifeguard positions at Houston Swim Club.

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Lifeguard life at HSC looks much different than the stereotype that’s been portrayed.

Our lifeguards are 100% focused on the safety and well-being of our students. And, as if that isn’t enough responsibility, they spend much of their time doing SO much more! We believe they hold the most important jobs in our company. They wear many different ‘hats’ and juggle multiple tasks at once in order to ensure that each 30-minute lesson runs like clockwork.

They are our ‘groundskeepers.’ They help prepare the pool area every morning, maintain its cleanliness throughout their shift, and ensure everything is put back in its place at the end of each day.

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They are our ‘CPO’s (Certified Pool Operator) in training.’ They check and log pool chemical readings morning, noon and night. The pool is our classroom and they take pride in making sure its top notch at all times. It’s Showtime at HSC!

taking-to-classThey are our ‘concierges.’ They know each student’s name and greet families enthusiastically as they arrive for lessons. They reassure and encourage nervous swimmers. They hold hands and form human ‘choo choo trains’ as they guide groups of 3-year-olds down the pool deck. They make sure each child arrives safely at their teacher’s basket. They double check the schedule and help squeeze a late arrival into a class so seamlessly that you wouldn’t have known there was an ever an issue.

They are our ‘cheerleaders.’ They watch over Guppy and Goldfish classes and celebrate the smallest of accomplishments. They know just how big those little milestones are to a child. They laugh at silly jokes, listen to make believe stories, and can talk about princesses and superheroes all day long. They give high fives, pats on the back, and lots of extra hugs. They ring the bell loud and proud after each successful float test and, without skipping a beat, discretely hand a plastic bag to a teary-eyed mom to hold all those wet clothes and shoes.

They are our ‘gatekeepers.’ They escort students to the slide safely and take a moment to explain the importance of taking turns. They guide swimmers down the slide to their teachers one at a time all while maintaining order and keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings.

They are our ‘jugglers.’ They stand stationed next to a Seahorse class and, out of the corner of their eye, also keep focus on a group of Kingfish students standing at far end of the pool. They wipe snotty noses and gently apply band aids to boo boos. They repeat directions to students who have their heads under the water when the teacher tells them to go. They reinforce skill development by talking with students after they finish their backstroke swims to the wall. They help little ones climb out and get to mom or dad for spur of the moment potty breaks, and ensure those same little ones return back to their teacher safely.

slide-duty-lgThey are our ‘rule police.’ They understand the importance of our rules, policies and procedures and they take pride in enforcing them in a positive, tactful manner. They repeat the words, “stay on the step” and “please walk, don’t run,” more times than they can count. They don’t hesitate to use a firm voice when the situation calls for it, but are always sure to deliver the message with a dose of love. They help our program live up to its lovingly disciplined standard. They work hard to ensure that each student understands the importance of being safe in and around the water.

They are our ‘positive reinforcement/lollipop coordinators.’ They encourage swimmers who may be struggling. They dig through teacher baskets to find the perfect toy to distract a fussy toddler. They understand the value of a smile. They make sure the lollipop holder is filled with an assortment of flavors and colors. Each child has their favorite. For some, the lollipop is more exciting than the swim lesson itself. And that’s ok. A small reward for a job well done. They know that all of the little things add up to make a big difference - #theHSCdifference.

They are our ‘superheroes.’ They go through extensive training and hold certifications in Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid. They may not be in the water teaching lifesaving skills, but they are on the sidelines doing so much more. They build relationships and they build self-esteem. They teach children how to communicate with their classmates, listen to their teachers, and be kind to their friends. They exemplify what it means to be respectful and show students how easy it is to use good manners. The red shirts they wear could most definitely double as capes.

They are our ‘role models.’ Not only to each and every student, but also to those of us who work alongside them on a daily basis. Their roles are SO important and we couldn’t do our jobs without them.

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If Hollywood made a movie called Lifeguard Life at HSC, we think it would receive an Academy Award. It’s Showtime at HSC!

We love your kids. We teach them lifesaving skills and so much more.

Written by: Graham Moore, Coach & Facility Manager at HSC Sharpstown & Red Cross Certified Lifeguard Instructor and Stephanie Burns, Site Director at HSC Sharpstown

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