FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Soldiers and family members from the surrounding community are taking advantage of a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program that certifies them as lifeguards and whips them into shape at the same time.

The course, which certifies Soldiers to be lifeguards for pool physical training and others to work as lifeguards during the summer, will be offered five times before the end of June at Knight Indoor Pool.
"It is challenging. We were in the water eight of the nine hours during the last Saturday class," said Sgt. Daniel Mulvany, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Physical Training and Rehabilitative Program clinic at Moncrief Army Community Hospital.

"CPR and first aid is pretty much the same as my Army training, but when you get in the water and have to deal with a casualty, it can be pretty difficult," Mulvany said.

To qualify for the class, participants must be able to swim 300-meters continuously doing the front crawl and breaststroke. They must also swim to the deep end of the pool, dive down and pick up a 10-pound brick, return to the surface and swim back to the starting point holding the brick over their head. Each candidate must accomplish this with his or her face above the water and within the 1 minute, 40 second time limit.

"You have to be a decent swimmer," said Amanda Orduno, assistant aquatic director and a lifeguard trainer. "We are not asking for competitive swimmers to be lifeguards, but they have to be able to pass our swimming tests."

In addition to CPR and first aid training and certification, participants are trained in deep-water rescue, active drowning and other emergency scenarios.

"It was interesting seeing all of the different scenarios that could happen," Mulvany said. "I don't expect something to happen when I am doing lifeguard duty, but I will know what to do in any situation."

Mulvany and several other drill sergeants, NCOs and officers in the PTRP, which rehabilitates Soldiers injured during BCT, are enrolling in the course so they can be lifeguards when they do water PT with their Soldiers.

"PT in the pool allows them to do different things that they can't do at full weight bearing," he said. "We see a lot of knee injuries, and the buoyancy allows much less of an impact.
"We don't have a set routine when we do PT in the water. Usually we warm them up with some jogging in the pool and doing different movements. Then we might have them play tug of war with the losing team having to swim a lap. We also have them tread water while holding a brick."
Pool PT is also used by other units on post looking for a change from the typical PT of running and calisthenics.

The course is also offered to anyone who is at least 15 years old by the last day of the course.
"Anyone interested can train here to become a lifeguard and also apply to be a lifeguard at Fort Jackson facilities," Orduno said. "We hire a good portion of our staff for Palmetto Falls and Legion Pool from the training course we have here."

The five-class lifeguard course is $100 for DoD ID card holders and $150 for non-ID card holders. Each class runs 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays; and the following Saturday and Sunday with the same times.

"It has been a really fun class and a great way to get in a little extra PT," said Staff Sgt. Krystle McGrath, a drill sergeant with the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception). "I know all of us will be prepared in case of a medical emergency or problem in the water."

The next course is slated to begin March 25. You can register at the Solomon Center, Marion Street Station or online at

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16