Inside the Lifeguard Station – from Rancho Sahuarita

Did you know that the first lifeguards in America were police officers?

When recreational swimming became popular in the 1800s, professional lifeguards didn’t exist. Police officers without special training were the first people to perform water rescues. Eventually, city governments began hiring people trained in water rescue to stand watch at lakes and rivers – the first “lifeguards.”

Lifeguards’ professional organization, now known as the United States Lifesaving Association, was formed in 1964. The group standardized best practices and educated the public about water safety.

Today, lifeguards are required to hold numerous certifications, including CPR and first aid, in addition to being talented swimmers.

Rancho Sahuarita employs more than 40 lifeguards to oversee the pool area and conduct swim lessons, and this summer’s staff received particularly high praise from pool-goers.

“This group of lifeguards was better than I’ve seen at any other time,” says Bob Webster, a Rancho Sahuarita resident and member of the HOA Board of Directors who was also a lifeguard for ten years. “When they weren’t on duty, they were keeping the Splash Park and lap pool clean, or they were practicing life-saving techniques.”

All due to a tough selection process and rigorous training, says Jace Lankow, aquatics coordinator. “Rancho Sahuarita attracts very qualified and dedicated lifeguards and swim instructors,” he says. “We have a lot of fun at the pool all summer, and we’re already looking forward to the Splash Park reopening on Memorial Day.”

The Rancho Sahuarita Splash Park is closed for the summer and will reopen with the 2015 Memorial Day celebration. The lap pool at the Clubhouse and the pools at Parque del Rio and Parque del Presidio will remain open throughout the winter.