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The life of a Cuesta College lifeguard

Cuesta College pool. Photo courtesy of Cuesta Sport’s Facebook page

One of Cuesta College’s newest additions to its main campus are the aquatic facilities. 

The new pool deck finished construction in the summer of 2019. This brings about a lot of new opportunities for the community, but with a new pool deck comes the requirement of new lifeguards. 

Lifeguards are essential to any aquatic facility, and are equipped to be able to provide services for most situations. The duties of a lifeguard are to keep swimmers safe by being prepared for rescue and aid at any time. They must be able to help and treat a victim at a moment’s notice. 

Cuesta College offers many different activities and programs to the community. In the mornings, lap swimming and aqua fitness classes are offered. In the evening, the schedule includes lap swimming, aqua fitness classes, and swim classes. 

The Puma Aquatic Club also joins in evening sessions to teach children how to swim. Pumas is a USA Swim club that is a child oriented club and puts safety and fun first.

It is the lifeguards’ responsibility to watch over the swim programs, take care of the pool, and work alongside other guards to ensure safety for all. Before every shift, guards must set up the pool and check in with their fellow guards to ensure that the environment is ready and protected. 

The set up process begins when the guards take out and check the medical bags for proper equipment. They also must check the pool’s chlorine levels to make sure the water is at a healthy and safe level. A usual shift has three guards: one checking in visitors, one on the stand watching swimmers, and one guard on break.

Garrett Wilson is one of many lifeguards that Cuesta College has chosen to work at the new aquatic facility. Garrett, a first year business and finance major at Cuesta College, has a large amount of experience in the water due to his time playing water polo the last six years. This experience has helped him to excel in his job, as he is skilled and able to jump in the pool to assist a swimmer when needed. 

“I became a lifeguard because I love being in the water and I also love to help people,” Wilson said. “So as a lifeguard I can do both things I’m passionate about, but as a job.”

Lifeguards do much more than just guard the pool. They are the first line of defense for the swimming community, and their responsibilities are potentially much more vital than most people realize.