Lifeguards Endure Grueling Training to Keep Kids Safe

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Saturday marks the official start of summer, but one group has been preparing for the season for weeks now.

We see them at the pool and hear their whistles on the beach, but rarely do we get to see lifeguards in action.

"I know a lot of people don't know like the whole gist of how lifeguarding works and they all think they're lazy and just kind of sit there and do nothing," trainee Nick Fonti laughed.

But that couldn't be further from the truth.

"Lifeguarding is really difficult actually," Fonti said. "There's a lot to it and not just sitting on your butt and just looking around pretending you're doing something."

Fonti is one of thirteen students training to be a lifeguard at the Woodson YMCA in Wausau. Instructor Lori Kleist has more than 22 years of experience teaching students, like Fonti, everything from CPR, how to use and AED and first aid to how to respond to an active drowning victim.

Alexis Bowman is another lifeguard in training. She says while the drills maybe grueling, it's all worth it.

"It's very exhausting and draining," Bowman admitted. "There is a lot to know, but ultimately it is for the kids."

"There is a lot of pressure because kids could be drowning," Fonti added. "You never know if a kid does know how to swim or not so you just have to take the safety precautions."

Both Fonti and Bowman want to remind parents keeping your kids safe depends on you too. A sentiment Kleist echoes.

"Lifeguards are not high-dollar babysitters. They are professional rescuers," she said. "You still need to be watchful of you're children. Be within arms reach of your children and be prepared to help your child in the water."

Kleist adds another important thing parents can do to keep their kids safe is to always remind them of and reinforce the safety rules.

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