Lifeguard Training at Concord

Each year, 12 students are selected to partake in lifeguard training to earn their National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), so that they can lifeguard the school’s swimming pool for the next academic year. Training takes place from January to March.

Lifeguard trials were held in October. We all turned up in our swimming kit, ready and raring to go. After many lengths and several minutes of sculling, the trial was over, and a couple of weeks later, the twelve new trainee lifeguards were announced.

Training started in January. Many of us had not spoken to each other much beforehand so it was a great opportunity to make some new friends. The first session was a 2-hour stroke technique workshop where we learnt lifesaving backstroke and sidestroke – both being rather demanding on the legs. It was a somewhat rude awakening for those of us who had overindulged over the Christmas holiday!

There were two training sessions each week, which consisted of two hours of theory and one hour of practical training in the swimming pool. As the weeks progressed, there was an increasing emphasis on the practical skills involved in first aid. Despite having done a first-aid course in the past I was surprised to learn that the CPR technique varies depending on the circumstances. For example, CPR for an unconscious adult is different from an adult that has drowned.

At the beginning of the second last week of training, the college announced its latest position on COVID-19, swiftly reducing our team of twelve to seven, as people had to return home. Due to the training groups dramatic decrease in size, it meant that everyone had more opportunities to practice and get more comfortable with each other. This allowed us all to feel more relaxed about our upcoming exam.

In the final week of training, we had 9 hours of training from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Monday through to Wednesday, with the final exam on Thursday. As you can imagine we were all feeling rather tired by Thursday but knowing that the end was in sight kept us going.

The exam consisted of a multiple-choice paper and a practical paper. In the multiple-choice paper, we were tested on pool management, the law surrounding pools, health and safety, first aid, etc. The practical exam tested our first aid skills and lifesaving techniques in the pool. We were all especially nervous about the head-splint rescue in the pool as it requires a lot of control and stability whilst in deeper water. Thankfully, we all managed to complete the head-splint successfully – all of our hard work had paid off. After the exam had ended, our two examiners let us know that we had all passed – much to our relief!

All in all, I think lifeguard training is an amazing opportunity that is available to us as students at school. It has taught me many valuable skills that I think will serve me well going into university and jobs in the future. We all learned a lot about the importance of commitment and dedication, as well as communication and teamwork in high-pressure scenarios. Moreover, my time-management skills and planning have never been better due to the time-consuming nature of training.

Holly – 6.1