Fitness

Using my Power for Good

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Last week I went for a swim at a nearby lake with some people from my masters swim club. In the pool, I’m one of the slower swimmers, but in the open water I kept up easily, and sometimes led our little pod.

Obligatory goofy picture of six swimmers in a lake, all using colourful caps and swim buoys

My strokes felt amazing. Slicing through the water, I reflected on Christine’s power photos. I was wearing my two piece suit, which rarely gets worn despite best intentions. I am now calling it my power suit.

Me, striking a pose in a brightly patterned two piece bathing suit, holding my swim float in one hand. I am standing in the river and there is a swimmer and the opposite shore in the background.

That led to me thinking about ways I could use my powers for good. I think I want to be a lifeguard again.

The COVID pandemic has interrupted lifeguard training, and the work has been more precarious because of lockdowns. Now as things reopen, there is a critical shortage of guards and swim instructors. This will have long-term impacts on water safety for many people.

There is precedent. Robin Borlandoe was a lifeguard when she was 16. Now, at 70, she has come out of retirement to help with the lifeguard shortage in her home town of Philadelphia.

I have already looked up the required training and course schedules to be a lifeguard and instructor in Ottawa. I have found a schedule that should allow me to complete all three courses in time for hiring season next year.

Even if I don’t end up getting hired, it will be good to refresh my skills. And if I do get hired, it will be an awesome retirement project, and a way to give back to a community that has supported me through my greatest sporting love since my first swimming lesson more than fifty years ago.

Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa.

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