Bright red bathing suits and a very loud whistle. It is hard not to notice those lifeguards at the local water parks—constantly telling you not to run; not to splash. But their jobs are so much more. News 5's Jeniffer Berry introduces us to two young guards who have been making a difference and making saves for years now. It's today's Celebrate Youth.
As those dog days of summer draw closer and closer, for many, there is no better way to beat the heat, than at the pool. But while you are riding the waves and hitting the slides, there are dozens left sitting out.
“There are days that it gets really, really hot,” said Lifeguard Laura Beahm.
They are the lifeguards.
Here at the Hastings Aquacourt there are about 60 young adults who spend their summers watching others make a splash.
“You are scanning the water for something abnormal and the moment you see something you like tense up and you analyze the situation,” said Lifeguard Whitney Nelson.
Whitney Nelson and Laura Beahm are two of the longest serving lifeguards. For both of them this is their 5th summer.
“I thought it would be a fun job. It is different, it is outside,” said Laura.
“The people I work with is really my favorite part. There are the kids that you come back to work here just because you want to work with them, they are like your summer friends,” said Whitney.
18 lifeguards at a time watch these waters shifting posts every 30 minutes.
“Until you jump in and pull someone out, you do not really think I am out here, I am a hero, saving people,” said Laura Beahm.
But it happens. These veteran lifeguards know that all it takes is a second for something to go wrong.
“I think I have had three saves,” said Laura.
“Probably my first save was my scariest. A kid jumped on top of another kid in the deep end and neither one could not swim very well,” said Whitney Nelson.
“My most exciting was a little boy in the wave pool. And he was on his tube and he got out to where it was too deep and he flipped with a wave,” said Laura.
“It is like terrifying but after it is done you are like "whoo" I am glad that went okay,” said Whitney.
It is that momentary adrenaline rush that keeps these 2 guards and others coming back to the Aquacourt summer after summer.
Each year they make more saves - each one a little easier than the last.
“All the practice you do really pays off in the end,” said Whitney.
But what never gets easier is watching others cool off on those hot summer days.
“Between chairs we hop in and get back out or on the lazy river climb in or put your feet in. It just gets hot some days,” said Laura.
Laura just graduated from college. She said this could be her last year life guarding.
Whitney said when she finishes college and gets a full time job she will probably stop life guarding, too. At which time, she will enjoy recreational swimming, once again.