2016 Pool Lifeguard Challenge Winners

2016 bought a few less competitors to the previous year's 13 teams, however the 9 teams competing did not fail to demonstrate 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.

Like previous years the 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 tests 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.

Then the most exciting part of the day came around - the Emergency Simulation. This event is designed to replicate incidents that are commonly occuring in public swimming pools around the state. 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, a swimming instructor dealing with a problem group of individuals in the class, lost child, kids mucking around in the pool and finally a patron unconscious.

The major emergency component of the event occured when a patron called for help while trying to remove his unconscious friend from the pool- this friend had suffered a heart attack. The teams were judged on how succinct their contact with emergency was, the effective clearing of patrons from the pool, dealing with the friend 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 a successful day and the teams were completed with all the events - LIWA Aquatics President Jeff Fondacaro, who was the MC for the day, wrapped things up on pool deck and invited everyone to attend the presentations. He then welcomed our special guests from Commercial Aquatics Australia and congratulated the Lifeguards and their employers for their commitment to the event.

The three placegetters from the event were then announced:

In third place - Fremantle Leisure Centre #2
In second place - Fremantle Leisure Centre #1
In first place - Mandurah Aquatic Centre

Well done to the City of Mandurah who in a very close competition took out the winners trophy for 2016.

Lifeguards working at a swimming pool

Pool Lifeguard

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