A team containing the cream of lifeguarding talent from the Birmingham Community Leisure Trust (BCLT) have won a national lifeguard competition, pushing aside teams from across the UK to win the Serco Leisure Lifeguard Competition at the iconic Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
BCLT operates nine centres across the city in partnership with Serco Leisure and on behalf of Birmingham City Council. The BLCT team of five lifesavers included captain, Michael Ryan, plus Kim Ash, and Marta Hulin (all Stetchford Leisure Centre), as well as Tom Brandon and Jacob Cope (both Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre). Facility Manager at Stetchford, Michael, went into the tournament wanting to win, assembling a team he felt gave them the best chance to do just that.
Michael said: “When I was selecting the team, I wanted a group of people who had both theoretical as well as practical knowledge and understanding.
“We felt confident going into the tournament but were aware of the extra pressure of retaining our title this year. I’m really proud of the way the team pulled together on the day. We’ll be looking for a three-peat in 2024!”
Serco Leisure’s annual event tests every element of a lifeguard’s skill set, but each year has a slightly different mix of tasks to be completed. In previous years, as well as the standard pool-based activities, teams have had to deal with a mock high-risk incident, fitness tests, as well as CPR and theory-based assessments.
Along with challenges such as CPR, bleep test, reaction testing, and situational awareness, this year’s event finished with a Kahoot! interactive quiz that enabled teams to add points to their totals quickly for a little more sedate, but no less tense finish. During the event, participants used the new stackable QCPR mannequins supplied by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS).
Debbie Weston, Commercial Administration Manager for RLSS said: “Our new QCPR mannequins track the depth of compressions, the amount of breath administered, and it all shows up in real time so we can provide effective feedback.”
“The Lifeguard Competition is a fantastic way to celebrate lifeguards and the invaluable work they do. Events like this prove that Serco Leisure are happy to invest in their staff and take time to improve their life saving skills.”
Robert Gofton, CEO of RLSS, added: “I had the privilege of attending the Serco Leisure Lifeguard Competition at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
“It was amazing to see the passion the team at Serco Leisure showed for lifesaving and lifeguarding and the event really challenged their skills but was delivered in a friendly and inclusive way. I was incredibly impressed by the commitment of Serco Leisure management team who put the time and effort into delivering this event, it gave me a real sense of how they value their staff.
“I really hope other operators consider something similar and maybe we can support a national competition to find the best lifeguards in the country!”.