Fremantle Lifeguards

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The 2014 Pool Lifeguard Challenge was once again sponsored by Commercial Aquatic Australia and LIWA Aquatics and was conducted on the 20th of February at Challenge Stadium.

The VenuesWest staff did a great job again in configuring the 10 lane pool into two 25 meter segments for the event.

This year 14 teams completed in the multi-disciplined event with the YMCA Port Hedland competing in the event again with great assistance from BHP to bring the team down to Perth. This year's Lifeguard Challenge consisted of four events designed to assess both the physical attributes of the Lifeguards as well as their ability to react in the pressure a simulated emergency.

The first event was the team relay challenge which tested the of fitness levels of the Lifeguards as they raced against the clock. The participants needed to dive under and through obstacles, retrieve and tow manikins and complete a sprint finish in the fastest possible time. This component in Lifeguard training and development is a critical one for all staff as it ensures that they have a general level of fitness that will enable them to react appropriately in an emergency situation.

The second event was the Super Lifeguard Teams Event where the teams worked in pairs and was scored on both the time for retrieval and skills completing CPR on the pool deck. The participants were required to swim 10 meters, recover a manikin and tow it 15 meters, then swim 25 meters and then swim 10 meters underwater before recovering another submerged manikin and towing it a further 15 meters. Upon landing the manikin Lifeguard 2 went into a simulated emergency with prompts delivered by an assessor on the pool deck.

For the second year in a row this year's PLG Challenge took the Lifeguards out of their comfort zone when they were confronted by a computer monitored manikin. The manikin coughed and spluttered and provided instant information on a range of the critical data to the Examiners. The data is then analysed to come up with an overall percentage score which was used to determine scores for this event.

The fourth and final event was an emergency simulation event, which saw the lifeguards locked down while the environment was set to replicate a typical pool deck they would find in their workplace. Working in a three Lifeguard team the participants encountered a range of distractions that included an unsupervised inflatable slide and altercation between a swim teacher whose student had been hit by water polo ball. The major emergency situation this year was an emersion caused by a breath holding activity by a patron in lane three of the main pool. The teams were judged on their interpersonal skills, their clearing of the pool and importantly how well they dealt with the patron who needed resuscitation and defibrillation.

The teams continued through the rotations of the emergency simulation and demonstrated the standard of Lifeguarding is at a very high level and one that the industry should be very proud of. This standard of Lifeguarding and the Watch Around Water program goes a long way to ensure patron safety in Western Australian Aquatic Facilities.

With the event concluded there were formal presentations to the first three teams with the highest scores on the day. The President of LIWA Aquatics Mr Jeff Fondacaro welcomed all the teams and managers and congratulated them on the participation in the event. Jeff recognised the great support of this event by Commercial Aquatics Australia and the event managers Royal Life Saving. Jeff paid a special tribute to Emma Thomson and Caitlin O'Connell and for all the hard work in putting the event together.

Jeff introduced the Executive Director of RLSSWA Mr Alex McKenzie who was glowing in his praise for the development of the event from 5 teams in 2006 through to the 14 teams who participated in the event today. Alex also promoted the notion of the event taking on a national flavour with states participating in an Australian wide competition.

Jeff then introduced Mat Venentis from Commercial Aquatic Australia to present the awards to the top three teams in this year's Lifeguard Challenge. The results were as follows: with 23 points, Geraldton Aquarenea, second place with 21 points was Craigie Leisure Centre II and in first place with 20 points was Fremantle Leisure Centre. This was a great result and is the third year in a row that Fremantle have taken out the top prize in the event. Awards were presented to all teams and they were commended on their commitment and dedication for their roles as Pool Lifeguards.

The team from Mandurah Aquatic Centre were singled out for their fantastic performance in events 2 and 4 where the scored 100% in both the resuscitation components of the challenge. This year's event was once again a great test of the ability of our Pool Lifeguards and clearly demonstrated the support for this type of event by all the Local Governments involved in the Pool Lifeguard Challenge. It was a great result for all involved and Fremantle Leisure Centre was a very worthy winner in a very close finish.



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