Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the open water training academy:
Q: Why do the lake guards have to go through ocean lifeguard training?
A: Our Open Water Lifeguard program is certified through the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA). The City of Los Angeles is unique in the sense that it does not have a seperate classification for ocean lifeguard vs. lake lifeguard, so all "Open Water Lifeguards" must be trained to USLA beach lifeguard standards.
Q: How should I train physically to prepare myself for the Academy?
A: Run x Swim x Runs. This best reflects a rescue situation, and will be used extensively during training. You should also swim in a pool 5-7 times a week, doing a masters/swim team equivalent workout. Swim with your fins to prepare your leg muscles and feet for this type of exercise. Run 3 or 4 times a week. Try to run in the soft sand as much as possible.
Q: How should I train mentally to prepare myself for the Academy?
A: Study CPR and all your basic first aid skills. You need to know these very well upon enterining the academy so that we can add to them with more advanced medical knowledge. Also be prepared mentally for very cold water. You need to prepare your mind to push yourself beyond your normal limits in order to succeed at an open water facility, due to the extreme circumstances you may encounter. Training will reflect these circumstances.
Q: What if I have a medical condition that hinders my performance?
A: This is one of those unfortunate situations. If this condition is permanent, would you trust your kids in front of someones tower with the same condition? If the instructors feel that you are medically fit to complete the academy, you will have two choices. Choice ONE is to quit and try again next year when the medical condition is not an issue. Choice TWO is to continue at 100% effort. We don't make special exceptions for these conditions since so many people make up small "conditions" as an excuse for thier not giving alot of effort. Giving effort does not mean finishing first place. Giving effort means showing some heart, and not quiting when the going gets tough. Remember, we are hiring you based on the ability to back us up, and potentially save our lives as well one day. If we don't think you have the mental ability to push through any hardship you may encounter to save someones life, you will not be hired as an open water lifeguard.
Q: What are the instructor's goals?
A: The instructors are there for three main reasons. 1) To ensure the safety of the candidates, public, and instructor team during training. 2) To prepare you for the job at hand as an open water lifeguard. 3) To determine who is mentally and physically capable of being able to safely and effectively perform the duties of an open water lifeguard.
Q: How much effort should I give?
A: 100%. Think of it this way. The training academy is an extension of your interview. What happens if you blow an interview? You don't get hired. Also remember you are COMPETING for a job as an open water lifeguard. Typically, there are not enough positions for the number of rookies in training. You are offered a job based on your final ranking in the Academy. Only the top finishers that give 100% effort in the field and academics will get the open positions. So ask yourself; Do I really want to be here? If not, your performance will reflect it and you are just wasting your time.
Some extra wisdom:
Don't wine. Don't make excuses. Pay attention. Don't think about it, just do it. Give it your all. When in doubt, GO OUT!!!
GOOD LUCK and TRAIN HARD!