For the past two summers, I have worked as a counselor at Journey's End Farm Camp near Scranton, PA. The camp is grounded in Quaker values, which I've come to greatly appreciate. The warmth of "a loving community and the joy of farm work" bring me back to camp every summer. This summer, the director is looking for counselors to hire with lifeguard certifications. He encouraged me to explore the possibility of taking a lifeguarding course in the few months before camp. I looked into it, and the local MDI YMCA offers Red Cross Lifeguarding courses, starting now! The Aquatics Director, Mark, told me I had to take a pre-course swim test and, in my excitement, I took the test, having not swam in more than six months prior. While I did fine on the 300 yd. endurance swim and the two minutes treading water, I sunk quite substantially on the rescue test. Swim 30 yards (quickly), surface dive twelve feet and retrieve an 8 lb. dumbbell. Swim on my back on the return 30 yards, all the while holding the dumbbell out of the water. Oh yeah, I forgot the catch: you only have one minute and forty seconds to do the rescue. I felt like a drowning rat pulling an extremely large round of cheese - I wasn't going to let go of the cheese, but I was slowly sinking.
It was humbling, and Mark agreed to let me start studying the lifeguarding curriculum and retest me in a week. Meanwhile, I'm committed to working on my strokes and finally submerging my head for a proper freestyle.
I'm also thinking BIG. Not only will I have a better chance at becoming a lifeguard by improving my swimming, I'll have a better chance at becoming a triathlon competitor as well, which is one of my life goals. Hopefully, one day, I'll be Hawaiian Ironman material. Keep dreaming, everyone!