During the summer the City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department has several aquatic programs offered, including the Barracuda Swim Team, swim lessons, and recreational swim. New this summer at the Riverbank Community Pool was a Lifeguard Readiness course offered to interested advanced swimmers to prepare them for lifeguard certification.
The class was instructed by Emily Foley, the Head Lifeguard with the assistance of Assistant Pool Manager Samantha Houston-Crook.
Crook has been a lifeguard for six years and Foley has spent four summers at the Riverbank pool as a lifeguard and instructor.
“I learned how to swim here and I was on the swim team,” said Foley with a smile. “I coached the swim team. So this is like my pool.”
“Both Emily and I are management here now so it is really cool,” stated Crook.
For the first class they had a couple students that both Foley and Crook have watched grow through the swim program at the community pool beginning with the tiny tot swim lessons, to beginners, then the advanced intermediate swim course.
“We were hoping for more but it will grow by next summer,” said Sue Fitzpatrick, Director of Parks and Recreation. “I think it is good to offer the class so students have a higher level to go as they get older and progress through the levels.
“Also to be a lifeguard you need to pass an entrance test and this helps prepare the kids for that if they do want to become a lifeguard when they are 15.”
The level 5 advanced swimmers are able to take the new Lifeguard Readiness class where they trained for the lifeguard test which included elementary CPR, first aid like nose bleeds and bee stings, and how to deal with injuries.
“The lifeguard readiness course gets them a better idea of what to be prepared for really,” stated Foley. “I definitely think if they were to go into it they would feel more confident in their skills. They would at least know what to expect.”
The lifeguard test can be taken when a person is 15 years old and the test includes 12 laps of freestyle or breast stroke, treading on water for 2 minutes with hands out of the water, and retrieving a brick from the bottom of the pool.
There were a few standout moments, Crook and Foley explained, like one of the girls really liked jumping off the high chair and they both enjoyed using the lifeguard tube.
Both the young ladies will be moving on to pursue higher learning and have expressed that they will miss seeing the kids at the community pool and watching them grow. There will be new qualified staff ready for next year’s swim programs for the next batch of swimmers, including some staffers expected to return.
“I just love seeing all the kids come back and they are so much bigger each year so that means that their skills can get better and it is really exciting to see the tiny tots and now the beginners and they can actually do the strokes better,” said Crook. “It is really rewarding too. It is a perfect summer job for a student in high school and college.”
The pool will be closed at the end of August. There will be a Family Night on Friday, Aug. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at no cost. On Saturday, Aug. 19 guests can enjoy recreational swim from noon to 4 p.m. for a $2 fee.