2017 Pool Lifeguard Challenge
- Written by Tony Head
- Category: News
- Created: 22 February 2017
The 2017 event featured 17 teams, 68 competitors, smoke filled plantrooms, fitness testing, first aid incidents and of course a great deal of fun and comradery. It is a unique event that brings teams of professional lifeguards together once a year to test their skills, knowledge and fitness in a realistic setting at HBF Stadium. LIWA Aquatics is proud to sponsor this event but it would not be possible without the amazing support of the staff at Royal Life Saving and of course the competitors representing their respective facilities.
All the teams ready for action
This year we welcomed back a number of facilities but also had the City of Cockburn and Adventure World competing in the event for the first time. LIWA Aquatics President Jeff Fondacaro was the MC for the event and with time at a premium was able to keep the competition flowing and ensured a timely finish even with a record number of teams. The first event is a timed event that see's 4 lifeguards pitted against the clock in a test of both straight line speed and the ability to tow manikins up and down the pool. HBF Arena #1 blitzed the field in this event with a time 1.13.44 followed Fremantle and Beatty Park 4 seconds behind the winner. Points for this event were allocated on a basis of 0 for the winner and each team losing one point for every second they were behind the winner HBF Stadium.
The second event incorporated both fitness and emergency response skills testing with two lifeguards from each team competing. The fitness component was won by the Mandurah Blue team with a time of 1.06.97 followed closely by Beatty Park and HBF Arena #1. The skills testing in the event was very close with Riverton Leisureplex #2 followed by the two Fremantle Leisure Centre teams.
Event 3 saw two lifeguards tested with a written and multiple choice questions in the critical areas of first aid and lifeguarding. This is the first time we have tried this type of knowledge testing and overall the teams did very well with Altone Park and River Leisureplex #1 sharing the honours in this event. The competitors then had a short break before the 17, 3 person teams went into lock up for the critical initiative component of the Lifeguard Challenge.
Go, Go Go!
Having the spare team member involved for the initiatives meant there were plenty of actors available which adds to the excitement and provides a more realistic setting for the activities that simulate the real work environment. RLSSWA CEO Peter Leaversuch briefed all the actors and the timing sequence of when events will begin to escalate on the pool deck and then it was actors ready, your time starts NOW! With a military like precision the first of the 17 teams headed onto the pool deck to face dangerous play activities, water polo balls being thrown at spectators and a swimmer in distress in the lap lanes. But these distractions were only a precursor to the plantroom fire and injured staff members emerging from the smoke onto the pool deck. The inclusion of a major out of water emergency was a first for the Pool Lifeguard Challenge and clearly tested the skills of the participants.
The Lifeguards cleared the pools promptly and then focused their first aid and emergency protocols skills to deal with the injured staff member who was clearly bleeding and effected by smoke inhalation. The level of professionalism demonstrated by the teams was of a very high level and highlighted that the training they are undertaking in the workplace and during formal requalification sessions is paying off. The actors who were in place for the 17 scenario's did a great job in particular Stef and Amy who continually emerged from a smoke filled room coughing and spluttering to be carried or assisted across the concourse. Jayden's attention seeking for a cramp was also a very good distraction just prior to the major emergency kicking off. The participation of the spare lifeguards and the team members that have completed the scenarios all added to the vibrancy and reality of the Challenge.
LIWA Aquatics President Jeff Fondacaro continued his role as MC and provided great context to the importance of the Challenge in developing safety standards in our industry. All the Lifeguards that competed today had come into the industry with the knowledge that Watch Around Water was there to support them and promote parental supervision. But Jeff highlighted the need for them to remain vigilant and continue to embrace their own training and professional development.
Royal Life Saving CEO Peter Leaversuch paid tribute to all the participants in this unique event and to LIWA Aquatics for its support and financial sponsorship of the Challenge. Peter also thanked his own staff for participation in the day and singled the organiser Caitlin Oxlade for bringing the event together in such a professional manner. It was then back to Jeff who thanked all the volunteers and judges including Chris Blankley, Matt Merritt, Ryan Scally and of course Steve Good for their amazing contribution to the day and our industry.
It was then time to announce the winner and the placegetters which at the end of the day saw only three points separating first and second place with the third placed team 49 points behind the winner. It was a close competition and everyone was a winner on the day but as always a team needs to be recognised and be presented with the silverware!
In third place which was an incredible effort considering the team had been up before 4am (not so unusual in the aquatic industry) and then driven 450kms to compete with a score of 499 points was Geraldton Aquarena. In second placing was the Mandurah #1 with a score of 545 and the winner on the day with 548 points was Riverton Leisureplex #2. It was a great win by the City of Canning Team who were very proud winners of the 2017 LIWA Aquatics Pool Lifeguard Challenge. See everyone again next year and keep up the training.
Riverton Leisureplex #2