Students get a lesson in saving lives


Joe Cleinmark jumped into the pool after the panicked swimmer.

Cleinmark, a junior from Hampton, Va., pulled the girl above the water and propped her head against his floating foam lifeguard tube.

Kicking toward the side of the pool, his partner helped him move the victim out of the water and secure her to a backboard.

Minutes later, Cleinmark unstrapped the victim and gave her a chance to “rescue” someone.

A lifeguard training class was taught by American Red Cross certified lifeguard instructors at Preston Center last weekend. Fourteen people took the class Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Most of the participants passed the class, but a few had to retake sections of the four-part exam. If a person scores less than 80 percent on any section, they must take that part over again, outdoor recreations/facility coordinator Luke Bartlett said.

Cleinmark said pulling one of his training partners out of the water wasn’t that hard.

“It was easier than I thought it would be,” he said. “The practice really helped.”

The students began the training by testing their basic swimming abilities.

They were required to swim 500 yards across Preston’s pool without stopping.

To simulate a person drowning at the bottom of the pool, the students also had to recover a 10 pound rubber diving brick from the 13 foot deep end of the pool.

“A brick is a lot easier to get than a person,” Bartlett said.

Part of the training consisted of lifesaving techniques like rescue breathing, CPR and use of the automated external defibrillator, or AED.

An AED is often used when a person’s heart isn’t working properly.

The students practiced their rescue breathing and CPR skills on plastic dummies shaped like an infant, child, and an adult nicknamed “Fat Freddy.”

Caitlin Maguigan, a freshman from Murfreesboro, Tenn., said practicing CPR on “Freddy,” a 250 pound man, wasn’t easy.

Cleinmark said the instructors taught the class to not quit before the person was rescued.

“Once you get out to save a victim, don’t give up,” he said.

Reach Bobby Harrell at [email protected]