Students take up jobs as lifeguards

Kaitlyn Boyle, Eastside News/Features Editor

At the conclusion of finals, students burst out of their classrooms and enter a summer of total relaxation. Some Cherry Hill East swimmers, however, have opted to spend their break a different way. Instead of lounging at their neighborhood pools, members of the boys’ and girls’ swim teams will be taking a seat on the lifeguard stand this summer.

Lifeguarding is one of the most logical jobs available for high school swimmers. These students already possess the strong swimming skills necessary to pass certification.

“I wanted to be a lifeguard because I felt it was a job that I was already fairly knowledgeable about,” said Ally Mora (’17), a lifeguard at Old Orchard Swim Club. “It is very helpful that I am an experienced swimmer because knowing how to swim well is one of the most important skills required. Also, after going to the pool for eight years, I was already aware of what the lifeguards have to do and what is required of them.”

The position also appeals heavily to sophomores looking for a summer job. With an age requirement of 15, many tenth graders will be applying for a position on stand.

“It’s one of the few jobs I can get now,” said Nicole Perez (’17), a lifeguard at Wexford Leas Swim Club.

The Jersey Wahoos Swim Club offers a two week certification process run by the Red Cross. Aspiring lifeguards must attend 20 to 30 hours of classes that consist of both written and physical tests. Some of the physical tests include retrieving a brick from the bottom of pool and demonstrating various save methods. The students also learn how to preform CPR and first aid. The training course is meant to challenge even the most experienced swimmers. After passing certification, students can apply for a job at any swim club in Cherry Hill.

Although the daily routine of a lifeguard may not seem quite as rigorous as training, it is no less important when looking out for the well-being of all pool guests.

“I set up the pool to be ready for people to be comfortable and make sure it’s clean,” said Michael Langmuir (’17), currently employed at Old Orchard Swim Club. “I also make sure all the safety materials are together and I test the water to make sure it’s safe to swim in.

Lifeguards also keep watch for any potentially dangerous behavior, and provide first aid care for anyone in need.

“I expect [my lifeguards] to be able to save the life of any member of this swim club,” said Dan Brofit, manager of Old Orchard Swim Club.

Brofit employs about 14 lifeguards at his pool each summer in order to keep things running smoothly and safely.

Many first-time employees have not yet had to save the life of a pool member, however some of the more experienced lifeguards recall such an incident. Megan Morris (’16) has been a lifeguard at Old Orchard Swim Club for two summers, and explains that usually the save involves a younger kid struggling to swim.

“But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to an older kid,” said, coworker, Lizzie Loesner (’17).

Although some lifeguards began the job this summer, pool members can rely upon their intense training and strong swimming skills. These teens value the safety of their swim clubs, especially those who have grown up swimming in these pools.

“I feel confident that I could save someone because we do trainings every few weeks to make sure we know what we are doing,” said Langmuir. “I wanted to be a lifeguard because I like knowing that I can and know how to help in case of an emergency.”