The 2017 Pool Lifeguard Challenge was held this week at the HBF Stadium outdoor pool, with 17 teams competing, a big increase on the 9 teams who took part last year. It was great to see a number of teams join us for the very first time this year, including Adventure World, South Lake, HBF Arena and Altone Park.

The event, sponsored by the Leisure Institute of WA, and facilitated by Royal Life Saving WA, has been held annually since 2007, with the aim of testing lifeguard's skills and encouraging the continued improvement of lifeguard teams at aquatic centres across WA.

A number of regular teams returned again from Mandurah, Fremantle, Cannington, Beatty Park, and Geraldton, while we saw the return of teams from HBF Stadium, Riverton and Kwinana after an absence last year. Once again the Geraldton team made an extra special effort, taking the 4 ½ hour journey to Perth and returning immediately after the competition ended in the afternoon!

The day began with a team relay and obstacle course, with HBF Arena Team 1 coming out of the blocks fast and putting themselves forward as the team to beat. The next event was the Super Lifeguard Challenge, in which teams show their swimming, manikin tow and CPR skills. The standout team in this event was Riverton 2 who achieve a 100% score in the CPR section. Team members headed into the Royal Life Saving training rooms after this to complete a theory exam, in which Altone Park and Riverton 1 tied for top spot with a score of 49 out of 56.

The part of the day all teams look forward to is the final challenge which involves each team responding to an acted out emergency scenario. The teams go into a lock-down room so they are unaware of the scenario unfolding for the competing team out on the pool deck, and no-one can ever be sure what to expect from this part of the challenge each and every year.

This year staff from Royal Life Saving, and the fourth competitor from each of the teams put on their best acting display, role playing an average day at a public aquatic centre, with lap swimming and general water play, a swimmer getting a cramp in their leg and needing help to get out of the pool, and a fire in the plant room causing a person to come stumbling out and collapse poolside. The teams showed fantastic skill in their response to the incidents thrown their way, and were all willing to receive the feedback from the judges on areas where they can improve for the future. The top team in the emergency scenario was Mandurah 1 who took out the top score.

At the end of the day the top three teams were, Geraldton Aquarena in third place, Mandurah Team 1 in second place, while Clare Young, Jasmine Wynen-Gaugg, Christelle Smith and Sheranga Perera from Riverton Team 2 took out the trophy with the highest overall score across the days events.

Royal Life Saving Society WA would like to congratulate all of the competing teams for their performances this year and we look forward to seeing each of them return in 2018. We’d also like to thank the Leisure Institute of WA for their continued support of the Pool Lifeguard Challenge, an invaluable event which ensures the continued development of lifeguarding in WA. We hope all competitors return to their centres with a new sense of the importance of the role they play in keeping aquatic centre patrons safe as they enjoy water activities.