The Heartland has seen so many tragedies this summer in the water, except at Omaha Public Pools. On Monday, the city's lifeguards were honored for their work. The event was hosted by the Mayor's Office and the Parks and Recreation Department.
Of the more than 400 saves made this season, Rachel Steenson made fourteen. She is among only a handful of lifeguards to have accomplished such a feat.
"I'm really proud of my job and my skills," Steenson said. "The Red Cross trains us really well. The city of Omaha has some of the best guards in the entire United States."
At the ceremony, Steenson recounted her most memorable save this year.
"A little, two-year-old boy wandered," Steenson said. "His mom thought he was going up the slide but he actually snuck around behind her and he wandered out towards deeper water." Steenson says it was really crowded. "When I got to him he was crying," Steenson said. "I was really shaken up afterwards."
Because of Steenson and hundreds of other lifeguards, there have not been any incidences at a public pool with a serious outcome.
"It's a lot harder than everyone thinks," lifeguard Jonathan Berger said. "I feel like the stereotypical thought of a lifeguard is the person sitting in the chair, twirling their whistle, messing around, and not really paying attention. The 408 saves that the city had this year is a testament to that."
"We are very vigilant," Steenson said. "We scan the water constantly."
So, if little ones sneak off, they'll have someone watching close by.