It’s a known fact lifeguards are awesome. A special breed full of exceptional courage, determination, awareness, and so many more superhuman level qualities. Lifeguards simply rule the summer. It should be no surprise that lifeguards would make such an impact at the Olympics – the pinnacle of summer events.
At this year’s XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro former lifeguard, Joe Maloy, will compete for team USA in the men’s triathlon next Thursday, August 18. He will do this just days after most of the world discovered a new class of lifeguards – the Olympic Lifeguard, possibly the most prestigious of the brood.
Joe Maloy began his lifeguard career in 2003 as a member of the Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol in New Jersey. He spent his summers as a preventive lifeguard at one of the busiest beaches on the East Coast. Wildwood beaches can have up to 90,000 visitors a day on a busy weekend as well as wavering surfs and shorelines. Tackling these conditions each summer, Maloy credits his lifeguard experience as a major factor towards his athletic success.
When it comes to triathlon competition, Maloy compares event preparation to the always ready attitude of lifeguards. Thinking back on his time as a lifeguard, “You are always alert and paying attention, so when things happen, you just do it. You don’t think about it.” Being diligent and aware has allowed him to go into events with confidence, “knowing that you are skilled enough to handle whatever will happen out there.”
Lifeguards known how hard they must train to be the best at what they do. It’s not all about becoming the fastest swimmer, it’s about being the strongest lifeguard – knowing the handbook inside and out, being able to lift a human body out of the water, and swim to safety with weight in tow. Being a lifeguard is serious business. Maloy learned that way back in 2003 and still applies that to this day. According to Maloy, “it definitely gave me the attitude that I can get it done.”
Maloy is truly an inspiration for all other lifeguards showing us how to put our lifeguard skills to even better use. While Maloy is a world class athlete, he like all every other Olympians competing in aquatic events this summer are under the protection of Olympic lifeguards.
Yes, it seems ridiculous for professional swimmers to have lifeguards carefully watch their every move ready to intervene should an emergency occur, “surely the swimmers can save themselves.” While that maybe true, emergencies can occur at any moment in the blink of an eye. While swimmers are competing in the mad dash of a 200 free, a swimmer could cramp or have an respiratory attack while everyone else in the arena are busy watching the photo finish.
These all-star athletes need all-star lifeguards that will be there to protect them should the worst (albeit unlikely) occur. In our opinion these lifeguards keep the Rio games afloat.
Read more about Joe Maloy’s story and the Rio Olympics at Nbcolympics.com.