39 - Learn to Swim to Become a Lifeguard

TL:DR | Here are some tips for you in order to become a lifeguard. Literally the best first job you could ask for.

3 min read
39 - Learn to Swim to Become a Lifeguard

The U.S. is actually in a critical need of lifeguards, and while I wasn't making this post because of that. It has become very clear that it is super important to state.

My very first job was being a lifeguard at my local public pool. It was an experience that effects me to this day. Anytime I go to a pool I automatically start scanning, and I've even found myself doing it at other jobs too. It helped me gain situational awareness, and strong positive instincts.

If you currently don't know how to swim, you've come to the right place, and perhaps the motivation you need is the job of lifeguarding.

Why + Philosophy:

Lifeguards are first responders specifically for the aquatic environments like a pool or beach. While you don't have to necessarily know every stroke, you do need to know the basic two very well. Being frontcrawl and breaststroke, and generally would need to be able to swim 200m. Depending on the certification being able to tread water for 2+ minutes.

All of that might seem to be a lot, but given how other jobs require a lot to be able to work for them. This is something that isn't that crazy of a requirement. Gives you a sense of a challenge to work towards

While a bit harder to get the job than say fast food or retail, it is certainly far more enjoyable. Not to mention the benefits of free access to the pool, great coworkers, and I even had free access to a gym where I worked too.

How + Physics:

The actual physical process is simple. Again it depends on who you are certifying with, for example I did Ellis then Starguard (the two more repuatable certifications). Red Cross is extensive in their training course, but really poor in practice.

Red cross pools are the ones you see where guards aren't even on stand (generalization though). The things you have to do are frontcrawl usually about 200m, which seems like a lot for someone not confident.

Although that is usually 2-4 laps depending on the pool, and if you get yourself to breathe really well. You'll be done in no time.

The treading is where it is a bit harder, I personally sink like a rock, and that did not help during the test. I managed to pass it barely, but definitely work on your core and leg strength.

What + Psychology:

You have to go in with the mindset that while it is hard, it isn't impossible. Not only that but the results are great.

For a first time job it taught me so much, and gave me so much responsibility. It even lead into my other jobs. I became a pool manager, water aerobics instructor, eventually personal trainer, and even swim instructor. That one job lead me to the next DECADE of jobs that I had.

It is what got me to swim more, teach swimming, and now write about swimming every week. This opportunity would teach you more than you can know, and give you way more opportunities than you can see now.


We need to swim, it is a life skill, and that is why I teach it. We can't do that without the watchful eye of lifeguards around us.

They not babysitters, they are actual protectors that can help you in your time of need. They keep an eye out for your safety, and yes while some can be super strict. It just means that they actually care about your safety.

I encourage you to reach out if you have more questions too about it or my journey.


This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.
I literally place this ^ disclaimer in every one of my newsletter emails because of just how important it is to be safe in the aquatic environment. We rely on lifeguards to keep us safe, yet we are not wanting to replace the last generation.

At some point pools are going to start to close, if they haven't already, as there won't be enough staff to manage them!

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