Junior Dhillon Parikshak is an avid beach-goer. He said he goes around five times a year, spending time with his family at beaches like Lake Michigan and in the Turks and Caicos. Although Parikshak said he loves to relax at the beach, he said to always take care of safety precautions before doing so.
“Bringing sunscreen and water is really important to protect your skin and stay hydrated,” Parikshak said. “Also, I never go to the beach alone, and I never go to the beach at night. At night, it’s more dangerous because you can’t really see out as far. I never go to the beach alone in case of something like a riptide or a wave, where I would need help getting back on shore.”
Public pools have their fair share of safety hazards as well. Junior Emily Hu, a lifeguard at her neighborhood pool, said she has to deal with many hazards every shift.
“So many times, I see kids trying to hold their breath in the pool. They want to see how long they hold their breath, and they do it to the point where they almost suffocate. Don’t do that. Also, don’t bring glass to the pool because if the glass breaks, we have to drain the whole pool just for the little shard of glass since it’s clear and nobody can see it. It’ll sink, and it’ll be really painful if you swallow it. Also, don’t change diapers near the pool, for obvious reasons,” she said.
Lifeguarding for Hu came naturally. She said many of the procedures she learned were intuitive and involved rescuing the person in distress as swiftly and safely as possible.
“First, we had to learn to jump in properly since you can’t dive. We learned ways to use our buoy and used it to learn how to do front saves, back saves, etc. If someone was flat on the surface facing down, we learned how to pull them back on their back, or if they were down in the deep end, we learned to use your feet to grab them up.”
Being able to swim is an important skill for both beach-goers and pool-goers. Parikshak said he believes everyone should get swimming lessons before entering the water at the beach.
“I think that swimming lessons are definitely necessary if you’re going to go to the beach because even if you’re just planning on wading in shallow areas, there’s always a chance you get caught by a riptide or get caught in a big wave and get pulled out. If you get stuck in deeper waters and you don’t know how to swim, that can be very dangerous—especially in the ocean.”
Nicole Bills, Carmel Swim Academy aquatics director, said she believes learning how to swim is a life-changing opportunity for students at a young age.
She said, “I truly believe everyone should learn/have the opportunity to learn to swim. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. Regardless if you turn into a competitive swimmer or not, you should have respect for the water and know how to help yourself. Swimming is a lifesaving skill and everyone should learn.”
Bills said she loves her job. She said she feels most fulfilled watching her students improve in the water.
“When a swimmer finally passes a level or completes a skill that they have been working on for a long time is truly rewarding. It is also nice to hear from the parents that because of our swim lessons, they have a little piece of mind that their child can help themselves should they fall into the water. Kids truly touch your soul and it’s a great feeling when you help them be successful.”
To go to Carmel Swim Club’s site, click here.
To read more about competitive swimming, click here.