It was in December, during my Christmas vacation, when I decided to start looking for a summer job. There were many options but the job I decided to apply for was a position as a lifeguard at a waterpark. I filled out an application and was accepted almost immediately. The only thing left was the lifeguard training; little did I know that it was going to be an experience I would never forget.
The aquatic rescue part of the training was held the week of my spring break. I was excited about the training session because I was finally going to meet some of the people that would work with me and get to see what the job was like. The day before the session a meeting was held for all the people who had been accepted. Here I discovered that I was the oldest person trying out--everyone else was still in high school. At first I was uneasy about the age difference, but it also gave me some confidence (leading me to believe that I could handle the training as well as or better than anyone in the group). This was not a wise assumption.
The day of the training started with a slight chill in the air as most spring mornings. The weather made me even more eager to start, but unfortunately it also made the water a little too cold for comfort. I decided to skip breakfast and have a protein drink instead, believing this would keep me from getting stomach cramps and also supply me with some energy. Leaving my house that morning I could think of nothing but becoming a lifeguard.
The training started with a swim test. The object was to swim two hundred yards in a set amount of time. I expected this to be easy because I had been lifting weights and doing exercises for some time and considered myself to be in excellent physical condition. But I had failed to consider that I had lost some body fat since the last time I swam. This made my body less buoyant and my speed somewhat slow. There were two sixteen year old girls in the lanes on either side of me who swam with the agility of dolphins. These girls and everyone else beat me to the finish, which did not help my nineteen-year-old ego. I wanted to crawl away and hide but was determined not to let myself be outdone.
The next part of the training turned out to be the toughest. We were required to dive ten feet to the bottom of the pool and retrieve a ten pound weight. Once the weight was brought to the surface we were supposed to tread water for two minutes while keeping the weight above the water line. This appeared to be simple so I dived in, expecting an easy time. I had no trouble getting the ...