Dear Mr. Soulliere
Director, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management at City of Victoria BC
I am a frequent swimmer and Crystal Pool and feel compelled to share a recent experience. I believe it reflects the professionalism and value of the staff at the pool.
On March 26 in the early afternoon I was swimming near the deep end of the pool. A young boy with an abundance of energy was playing near by, enjoying his time in the water. He is familiar to the guards as he is often at the pool. He is not a strong swimmer, but was able to manage in the shallow part of the pool. At some point he made his way to the deeper water.
While swimming I heard a strong whistle blast. Before I could look up one of the guards had jumped in the pool and was swimming quickly across to where the young boy was; he was beginning to drown. The guard quickly scooped the boy up and brought him to safety at the side of the pool. This was done so seamlessly that most at the facility would not have noticed unless they understood the purpose of the whistle blast.
But this was just the beginning of a very well rehearsed rescue.
While the first guard was bringing the young boy to the side of the pool, another moved into position to help him out of the water. The two stayed with him to assess his well being. At the same time, other guards quickly moved into the positions the 2 “rescue guards” held on deck. This was done so seamlessly, without any hesitation. It was very impressive.
I am so grateful to the guards for several reasons. First and foremost for recognizing this young boy was in distress before he drown. They not only prevented this, but also limited the trauma associated with drownings. Second, the rescue was so well executed and without a sense of panic, that others, including young children, were unaware there was a potential drowning – something that can be very traumatic to witness. I am also grateful that the impact on the young boy, because of the way the guards managed this, made it possible for him to continue swimming. Many who have near drownings do not.
I do not know if the City of Victoria has an official recognition program. If you do, I hope to take the time to recognize the guards incredible professionalism. And if you do not have a recognition program, perhaps this story will prompt you to create one.