Lifeguards excel

Photo courtesy of the Groveport Aquatic Center
The Groveport Aquatic Center lifeguards took first place at an American Red Cross lifeguard competition in Dayton on July 22. Team members are, from left to right: Christian Edens, Mark Eldridge, John Froehlich, Waddles the Red Cross Aquatic Mascot, Brianna Brown, and Chelsea McAlexander.

Five lifeguards from the Groveport Aquatic Center made a big splash at a recent American Red Cross lifeguard competition.

The lifeguards – Mark Eldridge (captain), Brianna Brown, Chelsea McAlexander, John Froehlich, and Christian Edens – took first place out of nine teams in the competition held July 22 in Dayton. The team moved on to compete in the state competition held Aug. 5 in Dublin.

"We have a pretty solid group across the board," said Groveport Aquatics Center Manager James Berry of the lifeguards’ skills.

The competition tested the lifeguards’ fitness as well as their ability to perform: CPR; rescue operations including passive victim drowning, shallow water backboard rescue, deep water active rescue, and deep water passive rescue; and first aid. The teams also faced off in an approach stroke relay race.

"The competition contains all the skills they need to perform their job," said Berry. "It highlights what they do every day."

Berry noted the fitness portion of the competition included a relay race where the lifeguards had to carry a 10 pound brick, which equates to a 150 pound person in the water, through the water to simulate towing a victim. There was also a race where the lifeguards had to swim swiftly while carrying rescue tubes.

Froehlich, who has been a lifeguard for a year, said the competition in Dayton was fun and enabled the Groveport lifeguards to showcase their skills.

"We were pumped for it," said Froehlich. "Groveport is an up and coming place and we wanted to show the more established pools, like Dublin and Hilliard, what we could do. I can’t wait for the state competition."

Froehlich said he enjoys being a lifeguard.

"I like being outside in the sun," he said, "and I like the responsibility. It’s not like a typical job and you learn valuable skills like CPR."

Edens, who is spending his second summer as a lifeguard in Groveport, said it is "a sweet summer job" as well as a solid winter position working at the indoor pool.

Edens, too, values the skills he’s learned on the job.

"It’s nice to be trained in skills that you can use to save people," said Edens.

The Groveport Parks and Recreation Department employs 65 lifeguards who watch over the outdoor aquatic center and the indoor pool in the recreation center. Berry said all the lifeguards are certified by the American Red Cross.

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