Fun " and serious " in the sun |

Fun " and serious " in the sun

Kelly Hagenah
Kelly Hagenah/EnterpriseSarah Hoza, 17, watches the deep end, where many of the more serious rescues occur.

EAGLE ” Jill Shainholtz gets paid to work on her tan. However, it isn’t as easy of a job as it sounds.

Shainholtz, 17, of Eagle, is a third-year lifeguard at the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink.

“It really is a fun summer job,” Shainholtz said, “but it is very serious.”

Shainholtz, along with 15 other lifeguards at the pool, hours in the sun are not filled with music and magazines.

“It’s a demanding job in the fact that there is a lot of responsibility,” facilities manager Scott Ruff said. “People’s lives are at stake, and we don’t want anyone injured at our facility.”

Ruff’s lifeguard crew has undergone American Red Cross lifeguard training to learn how to rescue swimmers and spot problems in the early stages.

Students also have to prove their endurance in the water. Shainholtz said she had to swim 500 meters in the pool without stopping.

“It was tiring, but I did it,” she said.

To save someone underwater, the lifeguard dives down to the person, pulling the long red lifeguard tube. The lifeguard puts the tube between themselves and the person in which they are saving, then brings the swimmer to the surface.

“We would practice saving each other, as well as a 20-pound brick,” Shainholtz said. “It’s tricky to do that while holding onto the other person.”

For Patrick Garth, 21, of Eagle, lifeguarding techniques are as easy to remember as riding a bike. He’s been a lifeguard in Eagle for six years.

“After the first couple of days, everything becomes natural,” Garth said of the training. “You just do it as a second nature.”

Lifeguards must get recertified in CPR and First Aid every year. They have to take the Red Cross lifeguarding test every three years.

Though there have been no major rescues at the pool, all the lifeguards say they have stories. Shainholtz said there were several incidents that scared her a bit this year, especially near the slide.

“One really little kid with water wings went down (under the slide) and his water wings came off ” he was spinning under water.” Shainholtz said. “He was spitting up water, but fortunately I got there in time and didn’t have to do CPR.”

Shainholtz said she has seen some scary rescues.

“Last year, one lifeguard had to save two people in the deep end,” she said. “They kept pushing each other down, and that is a bad place to go under.”

Ruff said good lifeguards can stop problems before they happen.

“The creed I try to live by is be aware of everything at anytime,” Garth added. “Hopefully we can then avoid any bad situation.”

Shainholtz said even the kids with their parents need to be watched.

“Sometimes a parent can turn their head, even if just for a second,” she said. “You just have to keep an eye on everybody.”

This article first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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