2015 Pool Lifeguard Challenge Winners

Image of 3 pool lifeguards sitting in the stands waiting for their eventsIt 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 Mount Claremont.

Two fields of play were set up at the venue, allowing for the endurance and fitness components of the event to run in a timely manner, while also simulating a competition type environment. These two events are designed to highlight the ability of Lifeguards to respond to an emergency, rescue the patient and then perform CPR on the pool deck.

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.

The third event ran concurrently with event 2 and pitted the skills of two team members against the Resusci Anne Simulator. The Resusci Anne Simulator provides 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.

This year the Emergency Simulation of the Pool Lifeguard Challenge was developed as a result of 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 deliver 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 a class, unattended children, kids on play equipment and finally a patron presenting to the Lifeguards feeling unwell and breathless.
image of two lifeguards performing defibrillation on a CPR manikin

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 part 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 who came from the event host HBF Stadium. The event concluded with the announcement of the overall winners of the 2015 Pool Lifeguard Challenge. 

LIWA Aquatics President Jeff Fondacaro, who was the MC for the day, welcomed our special guests from Commercial Aquatics 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 to drive to Perth for the event. Facility Manager Dave Emery and his team were congratulated for their commitment to the event each year.

The three placegetters from the event were then announced:

In third place - Geraldton Aquarena
In second place - Fremantle Leisure Centre team 1
In first place - Craigie Leisure Centre #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.

image of 2015 Pool Lifeguard Challenge winning team with their championship cup

Lifeguards working at a swimming pool

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