Young lifeguard recognised for her industry dedication

7 July 2022

Natalie Chua at the 2022 WA ARI AwardsIf you had asked a 16-year-old Natalie Chua who had just begun her career as a pool lifeguard where she would be in three years time, she never would have guessed she’d be receiving the Pool Lifeguard of the Year award at the WA Aquatic Recreation Industry Awards

However, that is the case for this dedicated young woman, who was awarded the prestigious honour at the recent event hosted by the Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics. The award recognises excellence and commitment to lifeguarding, including customer service, interpersonal and leadership skills, as well as dedication to maintaining safety.  

In her state of surprise at being this year’s winner, the Cockburn ARC lifeguard described how she used to admire the work of lifeguards throughout her time as a young squad swimmer. 

“I was a competitive swimmer growing up so I was a bit of a fish, and being a fish you kind of look around and go 'being a lifeguard is kind of cool',” she said. 

Natalie Chua competing at the 2022 Pool Lifeguard ChallengeSince starting her pool lifesaving journey, Natalie says the role of a lifeguard has meant fulfilling a lot of responsibilities, but her eyes have been broadened to the many opportunities of the aquatic industry and the privilege of giving back to her community. 

“I go into work every day and you don’t feel like you’re working because you love your job, and your priority is safety but it’s also creating such a great place for the community.”

“Coming to the pool in the morning, even though it's 5 a.m., you just see all the aqua ladies come in and they’re super happy and that’s what makes everything so worth it,” she said. 

Cockburn ARC lifeguards at the 2022 Pool Lifeguard ChallengeEarlier this year, Natalie competed in the annual Pool Lifeguard Challenge for the first time alongside her Cockburn ARC peers. The challenge, hosted by LIWA Aquatics and Royal Life Saving WA, is designed to test the team’s physical fitness, first aid and lifesaving skills through various events. 

Whilst her team didn’t necessarily get the result they wanted, Natalie said the events tested their lifesaving capabilities as a team and afforded them the opportunity to learn from the other teams that were in attendance. 

For those who have the opportunity to become a pool lifeguard or be part of the aquatic industry, Natalie says she could not recommend it enough.  

“The connections you make with people, the people you meet – I mean in terms of staff in the industry but also just patrons – you won’t get these encounters anywhere else.”

"If you decide to come in at a young age it’s not very common to have experiences where you have the training and experience to provide first aid to someone who may not be able to have that training and it’s a great privilege,” she said. 


If you’re considering a career as a pool lifeguard or want to explore one of our other training opportunities to enter the aquatic industry, visit the link below. 

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