Lifeguards splash into action

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The spraygrounds and pools of the Rock’N River Waterpark in Round Rock were transformed into a live scenario site at last Wednesday morning as teams from across the state participated in the Central Texas Regional Lifeguard Competition.

Each team competed to earn bids to the State Lifeguard Competition on July 30 in College Station. 

The competition gave area teams a chance to hone their skills in a controlled environment and help prepare them for real emergencies. It helps the young lifeguards to keep a level head during an adrenaline-pumping situation and to keep the public safe.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department hosted and facilitated the scenarios during the day, with two Round Rock teams competing in the event, along with teams from the University of Texas, Cedar Park, Georgetown and Kerrville.

One of those competing teams was the Round Rock Dry Run Team including Brittany Allumbaugh, Walker Stewart, Nick Booth and Davis Barrow.

“There’s always crazy scenarios so, at the end of the day, you always learn new things,” said Allumbaugh, who has been a competitor for two years. “When it comes down to it, you’re able to think quickly on your feet.

The Dry Run Team completed scenarios that pushed them into a variety of different dangers including intoxicated patrons, rule-breaking guests, child safety, as well as minor and even life-threatening injuries. 

“It improves your skills so that you can be prepared for the unexpected because anything can happen,” added Booth, a competitor with three years of experience.

Team members had to be calm and prepared, working together to solve the smallest or largest of problems encountered at a public waterpark.

Stewart smiled as he cited Murphy’s Law as his favorite thing about his first time competing.

“I like how literally everything that can go wrong goes wrong at the exact same time,” Stewart said. “You really can’t get that to happen in the real world.”

“It keeps me aware and ready for anything,” said Barrow, who was also competing for the first time.

The Round Rock team placed third in the competition, giving them a spot in the statewide competition along with the Kerrville Owls in second and the Kerrville Angels in first. 

Round Rock Aquatics Manager Nichole Bohner said she learned the power of service at a young age. Her mother was involved in community service and her father was a fireman.

“I feel that purpose in my work knowing we keep people safe and make a difference in the lives of those who visit our pools by giving them a job, a way to exercise, a place to have fun, or a place to find respite from the Texas heat,” said Bohner. “Serving the City of Round Rock as it’s Aquatics Manager is a privilege, not only in watching Rock’N River and its team grow, but in working with a progressive department that makes such an impact on the community with its offerings and special events.”

Bohner said she enjoys watching her students grow and flourish in the competition

“For us, this gives those kids who are willing to put in the work a chance to shine,” she explained. “If we can build a culture where the cool thing to do is be the best lifeguard you can be, we’ve won half the battle. It takes more than 200 seasonal employees to run the city’s pools and any chance we have to show off what a great place our facilities are to work for and what awesome things our team is accomplishing, we want to jump on that! In addition, having competition teams gives our younger guards another avenue in our system to aspire to and work towards.”

For more information about the Round Rock Aquatics Department, visit www.roundrocktexas.gov/lifeguards or www.instagram.com/roundrocklifeguards.

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