NEW PALESTINE — Nico Martin jumped into the dive pool at New Palestine High School and began to splash about, acting as if he was in distress.
His actions prompted Anthony Stultz, a sophomore and member of the school’s swimming team, to jump in after him. Stultz sized up the situation and swam out to Martin before going through the motions of rescuing him.
While the two trained swimmers had smiles on their faces, they knew they were learning serious, life-saving techniques.
Martin, a junior, also is a Dragons swimmer. He and Stultz were part of a group of teens who’ve spent several weeks this spring getting their lifeguard certification through the American Red Cross.
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The two joined New Palestine swimmer Maria Virt, a sophomore; New Castle High School swimmer Keldyn Young, a junior; and New Palestine student Bryce Trebley, a junior, for the lessons.
They were being taught by Nancy Workman, a New Palestine High School teacher.
Most of the five students were training to earn certification in CPR, first-aid and lifeguarding and rescue skills so they can work at a pool or water park this summer.
For the New Palestine swimmers, it’s a great way to stay around the water during the offseason, get in some pool swim work when they’re not lifeguarding, and learn water rescue skills.
It’s almost a natural kind of summer job for students who already feel comfortable in the water.
“There is some common knowledge they already have about the water for sure,” Workman said.
Workman has taught the class each spring at the high school for the past four years and has had as many as 18 students learning life-saving techniques.
This year’s class of five students went through a blended learning program to receive certification. They did half the work online, the other half in the classroom and pool.
Virt, who swims just about everything for the Dragons team, decided to take the lessons because she needed a summer job, one where she could be outside and stay around the water.
She’ll be working at Riley Pool in Greenfield and needed the certification to get the job.
“I’ll get in some swimming there, plus have practice here, over the summer,” she said.
Many of the same skills she uses as a swimmer such as arm strength, proper breathing techniques while in the water and a one mind focus approach have come in handy during the lifeguard training, she said.
Martin swims the 500-yard freestyle for the Dragons and thinks being a lifeguard is logical for someone who likes to swim.
Martin knows training in a classroom and pool are very different from actually being in the position of having to save a life but feels confident he can do it, if called upon.
“I really do think I’ll be up for the challenge, if it happens, and I’ll be able to handle it,” he said.
Stultz swims the 100 backstroke and on the medley team for the Dragons. He plans to train at the high school this summer as well as do cardio work at the gym. Stultz refers to himself as a social person and thinks being in a pool setting this summer and being a lifeguard is ideal.
In order to become certified, the students had to take a test on line, pass a written test with their instructor, plus be assessed in the field by Workman, whose been certified for the past 12 years.
“I have had to jump into the water and save somebody,” she said.
Workman knows real-life saving situations may shock her students, but the hope is the training will kick in. Workman advises the students to do refresher work every few weeks to stay sharp.
The students worked on dummies and each other to practice life-saving techniques in case they happen upon someone choking, unconscious or in distress.
While Trebley’s not a Dragons swimmer, he does want to go into the military someday and said the work was a good first step toward what he wants to do to make a living.
He wants to help and rescue people with the hopes of being a combat medic. Trebley felt the rescue training was a good way to get his foot into the door.
Student certification comes shortly after the testing and lasts for two years.