Take a dip in lifesaving leadership with the McMaster Lifeguard Team
Find out how you can practice first aid, water rescue and priority assessment with the most inclusive team on campus
The McMaster Lifeguard Team is a competitive athletics club that participates in physical and first aid lifeguarding events against different Ontario universities. Members get to experience a wide variety of aquatic skills with the team, including water rescue, first aid emergency situations, triages, mannequin carrying, and medley and obstacle relays.
Run by club presidents Amirhossein Moghtader and Olivia Viool, the team trains biweekly on Thursday from 8:00PM-10:30PM and Sunday from 12:00PM-2:00PM at the Ivor Wynne Centre pool.
“Our club is unique in the fact that we offer an opportunity to socialize and meet friends and be active while still offering room for studies. . . We’re very welcoming and you can work out while still having time to do the things you need to do in university,” said Viool.
Earlier this year, the club welcomed general members with two “Try-It” meetings to learn about the team and their events and practices. Students were introduced to triages and first aid scenarios, swimming in rescue drills and guarding in teams.
Team practices involve both water and land training, which includes a mixture of first aid training on land and swimming and physical exercises in the pool. The training sets are structured to accommodate those with experience in swimming and the lifesaving sport along with new members who may not have any form of certification.
“We do take time to help new members out on technique and go over having some of our older members help out with flip turns or techniques for strokes. . . I’ll split the setup [of swim sets] to provide longer breaks or less laps that the beginner swimmers could do,” said Viool.
While some lifeguarding organizations require specific certificates such as Bronze Cross, many of the regional competitions that the team attends are open to all skill levels of swimming, water rescue and first aid.
The team has also accepted volunteers to act as victims during past competitions for first aid events. Providing such opportunities of involvement helps contribute to the team’s goal of being as inclusive for students as possible, particularly for those who lack the required certification to take part in some competitions.
“When people become involved with the team, they really enjoy learning the skills themselves.
Even if they can’t compete, they enjoy the process throughout. . . We try our best to have everyone involved,” said Moghtader.
This season, the team arranged a mini intrasquad competition on Oct. 27 as their first contest of the year. On Oct. 30, members took part in an Oktoberfest competition hosted by the lifesaving team at the University of Waterloo, where they ultimately placed third overall for their efforts.
Most recently, the club has participated in the TwoGood Lifeguard Competition on Jan. 8.
In the winter semester, members will get the chance to compete in the Ontario Lifeguard Championships organized by the Lifesaving Society on Feb. 18. The team also hopes to participate in a provincial pool competition taking place in early March and arrange their own competition on Mar. 25.
The McMaster Lifeguard Team can be found on Facebook, Instagram or the McMaster Athletics and Recreation website. Students can also reach out to [email protected] for additional information about the club.