The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 31, 2012

American Red Cross teaches lifeguard skills at the YMCA

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
The Stanly News & Press

Monday, December 31, 2012 — In addition to its numerous civic activities, the Stanly County YMCA offered the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Course December 19-22.

Individuals interested had to be 15 years of age or older and were required to complete a number of competency tests.

To be eligible for the class, those interested had to pass a series of prerequisites.

First, applicants had to swim a continuous 300 yards: 100 yards using the front crawl with rhythmic breathing and stabilizing, propellant kick; 100 yards of breaststroke using a pull, breath, kick or glide sequence; and 100 yards of either the front crawl,  breast stroke or a combination of the two.

The second prerequisite required the applicant to swim 20 yards on the surface of the water, then dive 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound weighted object, return to the surface, swim another 20 yards back to the starting point with the object and then exit the water without the use of a ladder or steps, all within a minute and 40 seconds.

If one could pass the prerequisite tests, then one was eligible to take the class.

This session, there were five students taking the lifeguarding course.

Diane Billings, aquatics director and instructor for the course, relayed what all it took to pass the class.

“There are 30 hrs of training, including videos, book work, two tests with a score of 80 percent or better and the prerequisite swim.

“Really the time depends on how quickly they get the skill before we can move on to another.”

Billings also added there was a requirement for treading water, as well.

“At the end they have to do hands on skills scenarios that shows they are competent with the skills they just learned. If they can’t pass that they can’t pass the class,” said Billings.

“They specifically have to train for an incident with a head, neck or spinal injury in the water, which is back boarding.

“Another scenario they train for is the active drowning victim in deep water.

“The last is a passive submerged victim in deep water, with two minutess of CPR after getting them out.”

Billings noted that an individual has to be in good shape in order to pass the lifeguarding course at the Y.

She noted that she gets a variety of students, not just teenagers looking for a summer gig.

“I’ll normally get a couple [lifeguards] here at the Y, but I don’t teach the class for us,” said Billings.

“It was a good experience,” said Heidi Frier of her experience with the lifeguarding course at the Y. Frier is a current lifeguard at the Y and past graduate of the course.

She explained that many people her age didn’t know certain life saving skills.

“It’s good to learn first aid and CPR, good to know these skills,” said Frier.

Actively engaged in promoting water safety whether it be through lifeguarding courses or the Learn-to-Swim programs, the YMCA offers many opportunities for individuals to learn about aquatic safety.

“I host a [lifeguarding] class two or three times a year; one over Christmas, like we just had and in the spring I might do one or two, depending on the need and the demand,” said Billings.

For more information on the aquatic programs at the Y, visit stanlycounty