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Lifeguard For Olympic Swimmers Explains Why Job Isn't Pointless

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Lifeguard For Olympic Swimmers Explains Why Job Isn't Pointless

On paper, being a lifeguard for Olympics swimmers doesn't sound like the most necessary or taxing job in the world, does it?

A bit like being a security guard for Brock Lesnar, or Stephen Fry's pub quiz teammate.

At this Olympics - just like the last - people on social media have been quick to point out the apparent redundancy of the role:

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However, the job isn't as pointless as it seems, according to James Meyers.

He's been a lifeguard in Nebraska, USA, for 26 years and has volunteered at four US Olympic swim trials since 2008.

"It is a misconception that we're useless," he told Business Insider.

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"Unfortunately, people do get hurt so we have a role. Of the four Olympic trials where I've been a lifeguard, this year was the first we didn't have to get in the water."

Yeah yeah, you would say that James - you're sitting on a golden egg. Then again, he is a volunteer, so perhaps he's telling the truth.

James said the primary reason they're there is not for the athletes - it's for everyone else.

A lifeguard at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: PA
A lifeguard at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: PA
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He explained: "It's not just the athletes we have to look after, oftentimes you have outside groups that use the pool in between trials' prelims and the finals.

"We're not just life guarding the athletes, we are also lifeguarding for those events.

"We've never had to go in for an athlete, it's always been for everyone else."

Makes sense - fish don't need saving from water. It's for this reason that the role of a lifeguard at these elite events is quite different to the role of a lifeguard down at your local pool.

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James said: "It's kind of like the fire department. Our whole goal is to be in the background, if you have to see us generally something bad has happened.

"Lifeguards at these events are mostly trained to respond to medical problems or injuries where the person can't get out of the pool.

"That is more likely to happen at Olympic trials, compared to a public pool where lifeguards are trained to respond to drownings."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: olympics, Interesting, swimming, Community

Jake Massey
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