Lifeguards dive into skills competition at U of C Lifeguard Games
Lifeguards from across Alberta tested their training at 3rd annual games
Lifeguards from across Alberta had a chance to put their training to the test on Sunday at the third annual University of Calgary Lifeguard Games.
"Lifeguards do training all the time and they need to keep their skills sharp," said Dominique MacDonald, aquatic manager at the University of Calgary's Aquatic Centre.
"We're trying to infuse it with some energy and some fun. We've gamified all the activities and the skills."
Almost 100 competitors and 60 volunteers gathered for the event, with swimmers coming from Calgary, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Olds.
"We have volunteers that are pretending to do things like drown or be injured, and you'll see lifeguards work as a team to save that person," MacDonald said.
Anyone over the age of 15 who has their lifeguard certification can compete.
"It really prepares us under stressful [conditions]. You have to think on the spot, work as a team. Teamwork's really important, and collaboration. Talk out all the steps, make sure you get every part of the procedure," said Kayla Sopkow, a lifeguard and instructor at the Aquatic Centre.
It's really good practice, Sopkow said, "and it's fun."
Events at the competition included submerged mannequin recovery, a cold water challenge and a spinal roll.
Victoria Logan, an aquatic supervisor at the centre, said the games focus on a variety of skills — from alertness to teamwork — that lifeguards need to know.
"We have games that kind of focus on everything. Lifeguards ideally should have all those things. They should be physically strong, they should be great with their first aid skills, they should understand how to do a proper rescue," she said.
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With files from Anis Heydari