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View Full Version : Lifeguard intimidation



renie
June 4th, 2014, 10:56 AM
One of the reasons I hate swimming in outdoor community/development pools is the lifeguard glare you get when you come in with all your gear, prepared to swim and hour or two. :banana: I've been swimming outside for 25 years in the summer, and find that the guards are mostly all the same - texting, playing ball, sleeping, eating. Heaven forbid, they have to sit up and watch a swimmer. I feel like they really hate when I walk in because they have to actually do their job. I've treated them to lunch, ice cream, treats and some are fine, but overall, they are mostly very lazy. I tell them I had a guard cert, (I can swim better than almost all of them!), and they don't have to sit in the chair, or even watch, but I still feel the glare. I've even encountered a few occasions when the sun was shining and guards claimed they heard thunder. What happened to the good old days when guards sat in the chair and did their job without resentment? I only see that type of mentality at the indoor pools. On rainy days, they really give me the evil eye. :badday:

DeniseMW
June 4th, 2014, 11:13 AM
I actually have a funny story. A friend of mine was in Paris and went to a public pool to swim laps. The other people in the pool were splashing around and started yelling at him, and the lifeguard kicked him out. He said what my friend was doing was inappropriate. They don't swim laps there. :D They are evidently not into swimming for fitness. So when the lifeguard glares at you, remember at least here they let you do your laps in a pool LOL.

Swimspire
June 4th, 2014, 02:08 PM
I actually have a funny story. A friend of mine was in Paris and went to a public pool to swim laps. The other people in the pool were splashing around and started yelling at him, and the lifeguard kicked him out. He said what my friend was doing was inappropriate. They don't swim laps there. :D They are evidently not into swimming for fitness. So when the lifeguard glares at you, remember at least here they let you do your laps in a pool LOL.I lived in Paris and swam in many of the public pools there. Some pools designate sections of the pool which are open water (no lane lines) for people who do not want to swim laps and sometimes there are specific hours designated for lap swimming and for recreation. Perhaps that was the misunderstanding in this case. I know swimming in Paris can be complicated and I have dealt with very crowded lanes and rude fellow swimmers, but haven't been told I can't swim laps during lap swim time!

knelson
June 4th, 2014, 02:37 PM
I lived in Paris and swam in many of the public pools there. Some pools designate sections of the pool which are open water (no lane lines) for people who do not want to swim laps and sometimes there are specific hours designated for lap swimming and for recreation.

That seems similar to many pools in the U.S. I wouldn't expect someone to swim laps during an open swim time and I think it is borderline inappropriate.

pwb
June 4th, 2014, 04:34 PM
@renie, this might be a NJ thing? I've swum in pools all around the country, indoors and outdoors, and never had this problem. Most of the guards I run into in the west are smiley, happy people and I have had more than a few of them want to talk with me about swimming after I've done my workout. My recommendation - head west!

__steve__
June 4th, 2014, 04:40 PM
You can behave like a sprinter and entertain them. I usually get at least one good laugh from them each time

__steve__
June 4th, 2014, 04:49 PM
You can behave like a sprinter and entertain them. I usually get at least one good laugh from them each time

__steve__
June 4th, 2014, 05:50 PM
You can behave like a sprinter and entertain them. I usually get at least one good laugh from them each time

That Guy
June 4th, 2014, 07:50 PM
I just had an idea. I can behave like a sprinter and entertain them. Maybe I can get at least one good laugh from them.

knelson
June 5th, 2014, 02:15 AM
Where's that echo coming from?

__steve__
June 5th, 2014, 08:04 AM
I just thought , "Where was that echo coming from?"

DeniseMW
June 5th, 2014, 08:20 AM
That seems similar to many pools in the U.S. I wouldn't expect someone to swim laps during an open swim time and I think it is borderline inappropriate.

I don't think that was the case here. He did stay out of everyone's way and there were no times posted for lap swimming, or perhaps he did not read French well enough to know that. Gosh, I was just relating a funny story LOL.

knelson
June 5th, 2014, 10:42 AM
If you've been around here long enough nothing about public swim sessions would surprise you. Swimming too fast, swimming too slow, "splashing" people who are doing water aerobics, swimming laps, etc. have all been listed as reasons for arguments in the pool. :)

renie
June 5th, 2014, 10:54 AM
PWB, maybe it is a Northeastern mentality. While in Florida, I don't sense that kind of attitude at all when swimming outdoors, but in NJ, people wake up in the morning with attitude. However, while swimming in Florida during my last visit, (in a rather large pool) this stupid dad was playing Marco Polo with his kids (of course they gravitated towards the right hand side where I was hugging the wall), and as I swam by, suddenly I felt myself being lifted up and carried about 6 feet across the water! The stupid dad claimed he thought I was one of his kids (ages 6 to 9). Now, I'm a 5'6" female, in good form.

jpetyk
June 5th, 2014, 11:37 AM
:lolup: Now that's funny!

orca1946
June 5th, 2014, 11:48 AM
Maybe it's an east coast attitude. In Chicagoland area, guards are H S kids who do pay attention & walk around the pool ALL the time, not sit in chairs! Most will talk to you & with you about why I breathe to the side while doing fly.

Midas
June 5th, 2014, 02:35 PM
Lifeguarding is a horribly boring job. Time goes really slowly when sitting there watching people splash around in a pool. When I guarded back in college I was always thrilled when nobody was in the pool because then I could sit and read a novel or something. So I can see where the resentment comes from--you're making their day drag on as they will have to sit and watch you for hours as you say.

Of course, that's the job and I wouldn't care if they glower at you. It's your right to swim in the pool. I'd ignore them. If nobody swam in the pool, they'd lose that job and might have to do actual hard work.

DeniseMW
June 5th, 2014, 02:38 PM
renie, OMG, that's hilarious.

ALM
June 5th, 2014, 03:17 PM
PWB, maybe it is a Northeastern mentality. While in Florida, I don't sense that kind of attitude at all when swimming outdoors, but in NJ, people wake up in the morning with attitude. However, while swimming in Florida during my last visit, (in a rather large pool) this stupid dad was playing Marco Polo with his kids (of course they gravitated towards the right hand side where I was hugging the wall), and as I swam by, suddenly I felt myself being lifted up and carried about 6 feet across the water! The stupid dad claimed he thought I was one of his kids (ages 6 to 9). Now, I'm a 5'6" female, in good form.

This is the funniest thing I've read today.:rofl:

renie
June 5th, 2014, 06:52 PM
I've done my good deed today if I've made you all chuckle.

It must be the area, b/c our guards read, eat, text, play ball. It's the oddball that sits in the chair and actually watches the pool. I have witnessed guards going into the office and leaving the pool, therapy pool and hot tub unattended at our indoor fitness center. It terrifies me to think they could be so apathetic.

ALM
June 5th, 2014, 09:03 PM
I have witnessed guards going into the office and leaving the pool, therapy pool and hot tub unattended at our indoor fitness center. It terrifies me to think they could be so apathetic.

Here is a story about a "swimming monitor" who was charged with involuntary manslaughter at a high school in Detroit. He went into the locker room to change out of his street clothes before attempting to rescue a student who was having trouble in the water:
http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/24692768/east-detroti-teacher-charged-in-students-drowning

philoswimmer
June 5th, 2014, 11:26 PM
PWB, maybe it is a Northeastern mentality. While in Florida, I don't sense that kind of attitude at all when swimming outdoors, but in NJ, people wake up in the morning with attitude. However, while swimming in Florida during my last visit, (in a rather large pool) this stupid dad was playing Marco Polo with his kids (of course they gravitated towards the right hand side where I was hugging the wall), and as I swam by, suddenly I felt myself being lifted up and carried about 6 feet across the water! The stupid dad claimed he thought I was one of his kids (ages 6 to 9). Now, I'm a 5'6" female, in good form.

Too funny!!

In the dad's defense, that is a game that you play with your eyes closed.

DeniseMW
June 6th, 2014, 07:59 AM
I'm guess we're pretty lucky in my county. We have really great lifeguards and they never leave their station unless someone's taking their place. They patrol the decks and watch the lanes, especially during camp season when kids come in and misbehave. I've seen them throw kids out. They are quite strict and dedicated, but most of them are past high school age and this is their regular job. They undergo rigorous training and are serious about what they do. There is one guy who's head lifeguard and worth his weight in gold, IMHO. They know who I am and have probably seen me going from the bitsy bubbles for grown up class to swimming almost daily. Not all of them are great, but most of them behave like professionals. You're not allowed to even talk to them while they're in the chair, or distract them.

Queen
June 6th, 2014, 02:58 PM
I'm guess we're pretty lucky in my county. We have really great lifeguards and they never leave their station unless someone's taking their place. They patrol the decks and watch the lanes, especially during camp season when kids come in and misbehave. I've seen them throw kids out. They are quite strict and dedicated, but most of them are past high school age and this is their regular job. They undergo rigorous training and are serious about what they do. There is one guy who's head lifeguard and worth his weight in gold, IMHO. They know who I am and have probably seen me going from the bitsy bubbles for grown up class to swimming almost daily. Not all of them are great, but most of them behave like professionals. You're not allowed to even talk to them while they're in the chair, or distract them.

We have the same high quality guards here. I have been a guard, managed pools and beachfront, taught guard classes (in IL and FL), and done guard audits for E&A; I'd pull a cert in a heartbeat if I EVER saw a guard behave the way the OP indicates.

orca1946
June 6th, 2014, 04:12 PM
Yes - it seems we all have seen 'good" guards more then "poor" ones.

renie
June 6th, 2014, 04:38 PM
wow, I think I need to move out of NJ! Our guards are primarily high school age, if that. I have seen them "getting wet" in the pool, and they swim with the head above the water if they do a lap at all. College level guards are generally much more professional, but they are in the minority of the guards that are hired at our outdoor pools.

renie
June 6th, 2014, 04:40 PM
philoswimmer, for some reason, that doesn't make me feel better. If you had your eyes closed, I think you'd know the difference between your 6 year old son and a well toned 50+ woman.

philoswimmer
June 7th, 2014, 10:00 PM
philoswimmer, for some reason, that doesn't make me feel better. If you had your eyes closed, I think you'd know the difference between your 6 year old son and a well toned 50+ woman.

You would think!

renie
June 8th, 2014, 10:00 AM
to all of you who have had the good fortune to have top quality lifeguard experiences, do you live on the East or West coasts?

orca1946
June 8th, 2014, 01:44 PM
Chicagoland area and yes most of the guards are HS kids

Queen
June 9th, 2014, 08:50 AM
Central IL and both coasts in FL.

DeniseMW
June 9th, 2014, 09:01 AM
Northern Virginia.

renie
June 9th, 2014, 09:33 PM
So, it must be the lovely Tri-State area of NJ, NY and PA. that reeks of attitude. :bitching:

evilwatersprite
June 9th, 2014, 10:17 PM
Northern Virginia.

I'm also in NoVa. The guards at my gym's outdoor pool can barely pull themselves away from conversations/texting once an hour to blow the whistle for adult swim. This year's batch is especially lazy.

Twice last week, I had people cut across the lane (over the $400-a-rope) lines just as my lane mate and I were about to push off. Neither guard said a word to the lane cutters, even though they were standing five feet away. I flagged them and said, um, this is kind of your job. "We didn't see it." Well, no Scheiße. You weren't even looking at the pool.

I was was a guard in HS. I get that it can be boring. But pay effing attention.

DeniseMW
June 10th, 2014, 07:38 AM
Hi, evilwatersprite. From what folks are posting here, it appears outdoor pool lifeguards are the worst. I swim indoors at the county rec center, and most of the lifeguards there are great. They county's strict because they don't want to get sued. They also deal with cranky parents who want to make sure their kids have a good experience. Water aerobics and kid classes are pretty much on-going in the shallow end, and there are always people in the deep end, so the lifeguards have a lot to do.

My friend who got kicked out of the Paris pool also swims at his gym, and he has all sorts of crazy stories about rude people in the pools and apathetic lifeguards. But lane cutters bug me the most, along with the people who hog a lap lanes to do water aerobics when the shallow end is completely empty.

__steve__
June 10th, 2014, 08:32 AM
The pool I typically use has no lifeguards.

8749

renie
June 10th, 2014, 03:30 PM
oh please, Denise, we can start an endless rant on that topic! hate those morons with noodles and styrofoam barbells - and the thing is they are sooooo out of shape, and years later, still the same shape. We also have "treadmills" taking up entire lap lanes in our indoor pool. The treadmill is always placed in such a direction that no one else can swim in the lane. They utilize a small square of lane, it's infuriating. I blame management - they argue that they can't tell people what to do in the pool. Really? When I signed up, I was told all classes were in the therapy pool and the lap pool was just for lap swimming. uggghhhhh

DeniseMW
June 10th, 2014, 03:51 PM
renie, LOL, Thanks for the laugh. I don't get the noodles at all, what they're supposed to do. And there's one lady with styrofoam barbells who's always in one of the lap lanes. You're right, they are out of shape. And never seem to get any fitter. Though, bless their dedicated little hearts, they're in there every single day, hogging the lap lanes, hanging onto their noodles like they hold the secret to eternal youth.

rxleakem
June 10th, 2014, 04:01 PM
I live in SW Vermont and the guards are generally good. My siblings and I were lifeguards in high school and in my experience as a Masters swimmer only one guard in the past 4-5 years has not placed full attention on the pool and I talked to the AD about him. Granted, most are in high school or home on break from college, so it is refreshing that they put a high priority on the responsibilities that they have in their jobs.

DeniseMW
June 11th, 2014, 09:28 AM
Where in Vermont? When I travel I like to know where the good pools are.

renie
June 11th, 2014, 11:00 AM
yes, and to elaborate - they wear tons of makeup, don't want to get the hair wet, and even sport glitzy earrings. Gotta love it.

renie
June 11th, 2014, 11:02 AM
I hope that if you were guarding now, you'd feel differently. That is their job, and other than going through rigorous lifeguard certification training (which I've done and passed), how often do they actually DO ANYTHING? I never had such a cream puff job in my lifetime. They need a reality check on what would happen if anyone actually drowned.

DeniseMW
June 11th, 2014, 11:15 AM
Let's not mention the shower caps.:D

rxleakem
June 11th, 2014, 02:47 PM
Where in Vermont? When I travel I like to know where the good pools are.

I live in Bennington, about an hour east of Albany, NY. We have a great (albeit older) pool here in town, and I can get you more info via DM about times and other places to swim if you are headed up this way. :)

DeniseMW
June 12th, 2014, 09:01 AM
Thanks, rxleakem. I am familiar with Bennington. I've been there a number of times. It's a lovely town. And it was an easy drive from when I lived in Mass. We used to go up to buy pottery and leisurely strolls through downtown. I've also been up to Montpelier for the post grad creative writing workshop at VCFA. I love Vermont. We've even talked about retiring there, but I don't know if I could handle the winters. It's one of the most beautiful states, IMHO. So when I do get up there, I'll pem you and you can steer me toward the best pools with the nicest lifeguards.

goldenwater
June 24th, 2015, 11:07 AM
If the lifeguard staff is that inattentive, it is a direct reflection of the management of the pool. Their supervisor obviously does not care about the patron's safety. That place is asking for a lawsuit. All it takes is one drowning and their closed for a while and branded with a bad reputation.

Bobinator
June 24th, 2015, 06:13 PM
If this were me I'd probably not think they were glaring at me in anger for having the audacity to swim, I'd just think that was their face when they were very bored. Honestly, unless the guards were verbally accosting me I'd just ignore it and go about with my swim. These are just kids. No one should have to have a sitting job for 8 hours, but if we want to swim safely someone's got to do it.
Just keep being grateful to them and do your thing.

Bill Sive
July 7th, 2015, 07:57 PM
On the other hand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBoqWpYr_dA

gobears
July 7th, 2015, 09:49 PM
That was awesome - thanks for sharing :)

DeniseMW
July 8th, 2015, 08:36 AM
That was beautiful. And it gives you a whole new perspective on what it means to be a lifeguard. I love how these guys work so hard to keep fit and jump into the surf every day just to train and get ready in case they're needed.

philoswimmer
July 8th, 2015, 11:04 AM
Yes, great video, thanks!

But one small bone to pick: despite the impression you might get from the video, there are women lifeguards on Oahu (I checked). A bit of a sore point for me as a former beach lifeguard, but I wouldn't have thought I'd need to say that almost 30 years later...

DeniseMW
July 8th, 2015, 03:24 PM
philoswimmer, I thought the same thing and wondered why they only focused on these guys. But I enjoyed the video and tried not to be disappointed that women were not included.

philoswimmer
July 8th, 2015, 10:20 PM
philoswimmer, I thought the same thing and wondered why they only focused on these guys. But I enjoyed the video and tried not to be disappointed that women were not included.

I tried, too. But after 30 years of trying, I'm tried out. (I enjoyed the video anyway -- it was very cool. But it could have been cooler).

FindingMyInnerFish
July 11th, 2015, 10:39 AM
I tried, too. But after 30 years of trying, I'm tried out. (I enjoyed the video anyway -- it was very cool. But it could have been cooler).

Agree!

Re ocean lifeguards generally--I think the bar is higher for these folks. You can't sit around flirting, texting, etc., if someone's caught in a rip current, and you'd better be able to handle ocean conditions if you're to successfully rescue someone.

So they no doubt HAVE to hire people who are serious about their jobs. Pool lifeguards--kind of depends on the specific pool, I suppose, so you can get totally oblivious or serious and responsible--but you have to pay for the latter.

ElaineK
July 16th, 2015, 09:51 PM
I have a good one. How about the non-existent lifeguard? No, not at a beach; it was at a city pool! I am visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the Gatlinburg Community Center indoor swimming pool had NO lifeguard on deck during my entire workout. Instead, he stayed holed-up in the office, sitting at a desk, chatting with co-workers who came in and out. There was a glass window looking out to the pool deck; however, I doubt he looked out much.

I wasn't the only one in the pool either. At one point, there were several parents with their children at the far end of the pool from the office.

Meanwhile, the two lap lanes were on the other side of the pool from the office, and there is no way he could have seen me at the closest end of the pool near the wall. There were dive blocks and a diving board, and I couldn't see him until I was quite distance out into my swim lane.

That was a first for me!

Bill Sive
July 16th, 2015, 11:19 PM
That has happened to me a few times this year. Twice I was the only person in the pool, and the Lifeguard was not even in the pool office. Once the Lifeguard stated (s)he was going to get a snack, and once the Lifeguard stated (s)he was going to take a shower.

I keep thinking about the liability potential if anything happens.

DeniseMW
July 17th, 2015, 09:34 AM
I'm fortunate in that Fairfax County lifeguards are really awesome. They man both sides of the pool at all times and there are always two at least walking the deck to keep an eye on things. I wouldn't swim in an un-manned pool because I'm not that good or confident, and I'd hate to think it would take an incident for these facilities to wake up and realize life-guarding is serious business, not just a way to make an easy buck.

moodyrichardson
July 17th, 2015, 10:04 AM
That is automatic termination from my facility. Also, we have at least 2 guards on duty at all times. Unfortunately, many kids just see it as a summer job and don't think they are responsible for lives. Of course it doesn't help that some only get paid minimum wage. That creates even more apathy. I prefer that the people that are responsible for my life be paid well. That goes for police and firefighters as well.

pendaluft
July 19th, 2015, 07:13 AM
I have spent a lot of time trying to explain to the early morning lifeguards the importance of watching the pool (seriously). Many mornings, at 5:30 am, I am the youngest person swimming (50 today!) so I think the safety issues are obvious. Nevertheless I found myself explaining how you can't sleep, shave, text, read, or wander off while guarding. Eventually, I pass it upwards. Eventually the lifeguard gets replaced and a new comes to do the same thing.

I do think it is hard to many young people to see it from the safety side. Also, the non-present aquatics director doesn't help. I always try to put it in terms of safety and liability when discussing it with Y leadership.

Celestial
July 22nd, 2015, 04:31 PM
That was a beautiful clip - thanks for sharing!

Bill Sive
October 3rd, 2015, 11:22 PM
I am sad to report some of my pool life guards have let me down.


In one pool a young man with autism drifted into the deep end of the pool The lifeguards were trying to get his attention by yelling at him. The young man did not respond. Since I was in the pool, and in the deep end anyway, I swam over to the young man, and towed him to the side of the pool. He was slippery, since he was covered head-to-toe with sun block. When I got him to the side of the pool the lifeguards did not pull him out. I towed the young man again to shallow water where I could stand up. By that time the lifeguards located the mother of the young man and the young man finally agreed to climb up the pool ladder and exit the pool.


In another pool a young child 2 1/2 - 3 years old decided she wanted to get in the pool. This young child walked to the opposite side of the pool from her parent. She sat down, and slid herself into the pool. Myself and another pool patron jumped into the pool and pulled the young child out of the pool. I am also sad to report that the young child was the daughter of the swim coach. The lifeguard was not on the pool deck, and most likely did not see this incident, because I fully expected the lifeguard to come racing out of the pool office, but did that did not happen. Shame on the Swim Coach for not being aware of his own daughter, and Shame on the lifeguard for sleeping on the job.