BRYAN, Texas — Lifeguards have been in short supply over the last few years nationally, and here in the Brazos Valley.
With summer right around the corner, pools are ready for the masses.
While the national lifeguard shortage put staff in short supply, Bryan aquatics tells us how they are gearing up for the summer rush.
“There still is a national shortage,” said Lexi Durbin, Aquatics and Athletics Coordinator. “We actually have tons of city in Texas struggling right now. Our bigger cities like Austin and Houston are still doing mass hiring efforts. Luckily here, we have a lot of instructors and so we are able to get classes out and we are able to certify as needed when needed.”
Bryan Aquatics is still hiring for lifeguards this summer but does not expect another shortage this year.
“So we are on a good process,” Kannon Torres, Red Cross Lead, Bryan Aquatics Center. “Hiring is not done but we are on a good timeline here. Compared to last year, we are really looking forward to this summer.”
The center says just like many industries hitting a staffing crunch, the pandemic didn't spare them.
“A lot of experts are saying it was predominantly due to COVID,” said Durbin. “That was because a lot of the higher-up instructors, people who were lifeguard instructor trainers, could not train lifeguard instructors who then could not train lifeguards to be lifeguards. It was kind of a trickle-down effect.”
This year, they're ready to greet the masses.
“I really like it when we start our summer hours and we just see this influx of people coming in and I can see those lifeguards on stand that we have trained here very well,” said Torres. “I just have a whole lot of trust in our lifeguards here that we do train. I’m really ready for summer and I’m really ready for the aquatic center to make a splash.”
You don't have to wait until the start of summer, Durbin says they're open for business.
“So right now, we’re open for lap swims so we are fortunate enough that the Bryan Aquatic Center is open year-round,” said Durbin. “We’re heated which is great. So the pool is at like 82 degrees right now. Right now, we only allow in parents who are actively trying to work with their kids to swim one-on-one. We’re not allowing rec swim, fun swim like our slides aren’t on and our diving boards aren’t open.”
If you are looking for a fun summer job, Torres says lifeguarding gives you lessons to last a lifetime.
“I really like to reiterate; this is a very good starting job to have because you can really transition out of this job and you’re already ready to take on responsibility everywhere you go,” said Torres.
The Bryan aquatics center is looking forward to you making a splash this summer and will open on May 29. If you’re interested in becoming a lifeguard, check out their Q&A for details: Have questions about lifeguarding? Here are your answers – City of Bryan, Texas (bryantx.gov).