For anyone questioning whether they should take water safety seriously, consider that even the hopefuls competing in the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials later this month in Omaha need a lifeguard.
“I'm a lifeguard and I was invited to lifeguard at that." Courtney Comfort, director of aquatics at the Council Bluffs YMCA, trains other lifeguards.
“I was doing the math, thinking I don't think I could ever do those times." She's talking about competitive national swimming where even the Olympians need lifeguards. “So in the event that something happens, we can be right there and be on it and provide the assistance they need without waiting for someone else to get there.”
Comfort will be one of 40 to 50 volunteer lifeguards for the Swim Trials, all Red Cross certified. She did the same thing at the Swim Trials four years ago. They'll be watching for everything from cramping to a collision. “You would hope they are Olympic athletes, but they're still capable of doing those things like a normal person."
Even though they're Olympic athletes, the lifeguard's job stays the same. “Count the people in your area and effectively scan. We have famous swimmers coming to our town to get their best times and these are fast."
While London will be on the mind of the swimmers, safety never leaves the building. The Swim Trials begin June 25th. The lifeguards will prepare by helping out at this weekend's Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational.