It was a typically beautiful Perth day as 13 teams demonstrated their fitness, professionalism and decision making skills in this year's Pool Lifeguard Challenge. This annual event sponsored by Commercial Aquatics Australia and LIWA Aquatics is coordinated by Royal Life Saving and conducted at HBF Stadium in Mt Claremont.

The pool venue is set for two fields of play which allows for the endurance and fitness component of the event to run in a timely manner but also simulates a competition type environment. These two events are designed to highlight the ability of our Lifeguards to respond to an emergency, rescue the patient and then perform CPR on the pool deck.


Nice day for swim!

This type of emergency rescue and response stress tests the ability of the Lifeguard to perform under duress after performing a 75 meter swim, tow, swim and tow. The Lifeguards then exit the water and perform CPR on a manikin on the pool deck. The event has two components which make up the overall score, the time for the swim and the points allocated for the CPR component. It was an incredibly close event with a very high level of skill and fitness on display.


City of Bayswater LG's in Action

The third event runs concurrently with event 2 and pits the skills of two team members against the Resusci Anne Simulator. The Resusci Anne Simulator provides the key simulation functionalities including a high-quality airway, spontaneous breathing, ECG, live defibrillation, IV, blood pressure, voice, lung sounds and heart sounds for basic simulation training. What a great way to demonstrate competence for our Lifeguards and challenge their skills. There were many comments from the Lifeguards about the strength and conditioning required to perform 4 minutes of continuous CPR.


Says it all really

This year the Emergency Simulation of the PLG Challenge was developed as a result of the industry research that highlighted the age and demographic of individuals requiring medical attention on the pool deck. It clearly demonstrated that our Lifeguards need to be able to recognise at risk patrons and then delivery a high level of first aid skill that could involve resuscitation. The field of play and distractions included, an aquarobic instructor dealing with a problem in the class, unattended children, kids on play equipment and finally a patron presenting to the Lifeguards feeling unwell and breathless.


Goody looking ready to collaspe for the 13th time!

The major emergency component of the event then escalated with this patron collapsing in the First Aid area and requiring immediate emergency care. The teams were judged on how succinct their contact with emergency was, the effective clearing of patrons from the pool, dealing with the wife of the patron (this made for some very interesting dialogue) and of course setting up oxygen, CPR and the application of the De-fib. Chris Blankley who judged this area of the event was able to provide immediate feedback to the teams prior to the next team entering the pool area.

After the actors had been through the Emergency Simulation a total of 13 times (which meant 13 heart attacks for Steve Good) the event was concluded by the last team of the day from the event host HBF Stadium. The event was run in very timely fashion and concluded on time for the presentation of a variety of awards and of course the announcement of the overall winners of the 2015 PLG Challenge. LIWA Aquatics President Jeff Fondacaro who was the MC for the day continued his role and welcomed our special guests from Commercial Aquatic Australia and congratulated the Lifeguards and their employers for their commitment to the event.

The first awards presented were the President's Award and an award for the Play of the of Day. LIWA Aquatics Executive Officer, Tony Head presented the President's Award to the team from Mandurah Aquatic for their continued support of the event and their participation this year even though their pool has been closed for almost 6 months! Well done to the City of Mandurah.

The Play of the Day went to the team from Geraldton Aquarena who received the highest score in the Emergency Simulation after getting up at 3.00am and driving to Perth for the event. Facility Manager Dave Emery and the team from Gero are to be congratulated for their commitment to the event each year. Jeff then invited the CEO of Royal Life Saving Peter Leaversuch to say a few words to the teams and managers. Peter praised the competitors and their organisations as well as highlighting the roles that Lifeguards play in the ensuring safe venues and in the education of patrons in water safety through Watch Around Water.


Great work from the Geraldton Team

CAA General Manager, Neil Daffen was then invited to present the awards to the winners and placegetters on the day. CAA has been a great supporter of LIWA Aquatics and the aquatic industry nationally for many years and it is wonderful to see them support this event. Neil provided a brief background on CAA and its ability to build quality facilities but also on how much this type of industry engagement meant to the organisation.

Neil then had the task of announcing the three placegetters from the today's event and after the drum roll it was:

  • In third place with 22 points       Geraldton Aquarena
  • In second place with 21 points   Fremantle Leisure Centre #1
  • In first place with 19 points        Craigie Leisure Centre #1


The Winners on the Day Craigie Leisure Centre Team 1

Well done to the City of Joondalup who upset the perennial favourites Fremantle in a very close competition with only three points separating the first three teams. Jeff then thanked all the competitors for attending, the volunteers for giving their time so generously and then singled Lisa and Caitlin from RLSSWA for their wonderful efforts in ensuring the success of what was a great day.

Get your team ready, start training and we will see you next year!

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We provide support, professional development and networking opportunities for individuals in the aquatic industry throughout Western Australia.

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