For the second year in a row, lifeguards from the Lehi Outdoor Pool and the Lehi Legacy Center Pool took the state championship at the annual Lifeguard Games that took place at Seven Peaks in Salt Lake City on July 29, 2017. They competed against 23 other teams from Utah and Wyoming.
The Lehi City lifeguard team at the state competition was made up of guards from both city pools who were willing put in extra hours of unpaid time training at the pool. Stephanie Johnston, the lifeguard coach and instructor, is a trained Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who has been coaching lifeguards in Lehi for the last 12 years. She’s drilled the Lehi City lifeguards in every possible scenario they might encounter at the pool. “We want the training to be fun, but they also need to be able to respond in an emergency situation. Our guards work hard because they love it. They don’t get paid well, but we try to make this a great place to work,” said Johnston.
The challenges at the state lifeguard games are situations the Lehi City lifeguards train for as part of their job. For the First Aid Challenge, lifeguards Colter Tower and Spencer Laudie were tasked with figuring out the injury of the “victim” and treating it properly to earn points. They were judged on everything from putting on gloves at the beginning of the scenario to washing their hands at the end, and everything in between.
The lifeguards were also tested on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and in-water skills. Since the teams were competing at Seven Peaks, they had to respond to some of the situations in unfamiliar water slides. “It was nice to know we could use our skills in a totally different environment,” said Sam Boyden, one of the experienced lifeguards on the team. First year guard Haley Stromberg had the opportunity to do a “passive submerge” challenge. She had to rescue a victim who was sitting on the bottom of the deep end of the pool using a rescue tube. Stromberg was anxious to do well at the lifeguard games and looked for ways the team could outshine their competition. Stromberg’s older sister was part of the winning team in last year’s guard games.
Swimmers who frequent the Lehi Outdoor Pool have often seen the lifeguards utilize the ten-minute break the pool takes every two hours. While the pool is empty, the lifeguards will run drills to keep their skills sharp. Aquatics Director Suzanne McBee will also put the “white hat” (a white baseball cap with the word “help” written on it) on someone in the pool to see how quickly her lifeguards respond and take action. The lifeguards are always looking for swimmers who have been at the pool for a long time and could be getting fatigued and/or dehydrated, as well as swimmers who aren’t making progress. “All it takes is for a swimmer to have a moment of panic and they can become a victim,” said Stephanie Johnston.
A few of the lifeguards in Lehi City plan to pursue careers in the medical field. Most of them are on their school swim teams. Jessica Burton, a senior at Skyridge, even competed at the national Skills USA competition in Kentucky earlier this summer. Lehi residents who come to the city pools are in good, vigilant hands with our lifeguards.