Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Michael's Musings

Celebrating three years at the (swimming pool) aquatic centre
By Michael J Morris
It was a day for me to celebrate  recently and no better place to be was at the Cranbrook Aquatic Centre (which I still usually call the swimming pool) at Western Financial Place.
First, it was National Health and Fitness Day, and although I am admittedly not in top shape as I slowly  reach "the winter of my years", I do walk almost everywhere I go, and I visit the pool pretty well every day for my "noodle" swim.
I was also celebrating that it was three years to the day since I started swimming regularly after returning from a visit to Orlando, Florida, where I spent time in the pool daily, and my friend Michael Pelzer suggested I continue to do so back here in Cranbrook. Michael has given me lots of great advice over the years, but I thank him again so much for suggesting I swim.
 I took advantage of the free community swim which are held regularly throughout the year, and managed to find a small space in the "big" pool to do my laps. It was a busy place, and let me share some of the activities that were occurring all at once, conducted and being watched over by the exceptional team of lifeguards.
Before I share, let me extend my most sincere thanks to all of them, who from the first day I went to the pool have looked after me, and made me feel safe and comfortable. Kudos also to the staff at the leisure services desk.
In the lanes, about 20 members of the Cranbrook Triton Swim Club were going through their paces, and one exercise looked like a brutal version of deep water aquafit but it looked like they enjoying every moment.
Eleven new lifeguards were in training along one wall, and this is something I particularly enjoy watching, as it gives an insight into how thoroughly prepared they are.
Suddenly two of the lifeguards appeared from the equipment room attired in a hard hat , with a  tube around their waists, wearing  goggles and carrying watering cans. They went into the pool and recruited four young swimmers to participate in the "Sun Smart Relay". It looked like great fun and I was almost tempted to ask if I could join them
Later, the lifeguards put the canoe into the big pool and the kids enjoyed a version of 'tippy canoe" under the supervision of lifeguards. All the kids wore life jackets. This took me  back many years as I learned canoeing from my grandfather Harry Morris, who hated outboard motors, so we paddled around Lake Windermere in Northern Ontario. For really long trips we did put an outboard motor on a freighter canoe.
While all the organized activities were going on, kids were enjoying themselves in the wave pool and off the diving board and the usual group were in the hot tub and sauna.
I asked four of the lifeguards if they would be willing to answer a couple of questions for my column. In asking Jessica Portsmouth, Dane Ries and Zach Smith, they seemed to have been on duty over the past three years when I needed assistance or was "graduating" to a new level. Louis Gauer arrived on the scene and has been most helpful when I tried aquafit class and always ready to assist.

Thanks to Louis for arranging the lifeguard photo
and to Jessica for the one with Dane (on left) and Zach. 
My questions were, "Why did you become a lifeguard?" and "What do you enjoy most about being a lifeguard?"
Here, with just a little editing are their replies:
Louis Gauer

"I became a lifeguard because of the versatility it gave me for working hours, while being a student. However I quickly realized that lifeguarding was much more than a simple job I originally viewed it as; it was a perfect starter job for my degree in nursing. I have pursued higher levels of training strictly for this reason. I am very passionate about the medical industry and love being a first responder."

"This one is tough to answer, the rush you get during a rescue is a great feeling, teaching all ages to swim is unbelievably rewarding, and getting to be a fun spontaneous aqua-fit instructor is a blast; but there is one thing I have recently discovered that stands out. I have recently become a lifeguard instructor and it is one of the best feelings I have had during my time in aquatics. I am part of the team creating the next generation of lifeguards and instructors. To me that feeling is unparalleled, I get to test my skills and mould the young into the first responders that people see on all pool decks across the country and I love that."

Jessica Portsmouth
"I have always enjoyed being around the pool and i thought this was the perfect opportunity, also my mom forced me through it.
"What i enjoy most about my job is teaching other people new skills everyday and being able to see the big smile on their faces when they succeed with our help. I also really enjoy being social with the public and seeing new faces and learning something new every day."
Zach Smith
"I love helping people and first aid and biology are extremely interesting to me so after I finished swim lessons I decided to put my passions to use and became a lifeguard."
I love my coworkers and the atmosphere at the job and I love being trained and able to help people if they are in need."
Dane Ries
"I was always a water bug and loved the water. Medicine also intrigued me because my father is a doctor so the job came naturally to me."
"The people I work with and associate with are all one big family, and I love coming to work to see everyone."
Thanks so much for sharing  --- and now the really big news!
As some of you know, I really enjoy watching the rope swing into the pool, and have mentioned to some of the lifeguards that I would like to try it. As a kid when we were in Toronto in the summer, I would rope swing into the muddy waters of the Humber River, and loved it. My Tom Sawyer moments.
Anyway, Dane Ries chatted with me about the possibility and said, "We will make it happen..." So, who am I to argue with a lifeguard, so I am officially in training for the "Rope Swing Moment" to be held later in the summer as the highlight of my fourth year at the swimming pool  --- I mean Cranbrook Aquatic Centre!
Thanks so much to all  my friends, the lifeguards who ensure that  swimming is such a pleasant experience. Yes, it is also a social time too. Thanks to Louis for arranging the lifeguard photo and to Jessica for the one with Dane (on left) and Zach. My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

1 comment:

  1. Valerie.
    Good comments but unfortunately the blog policy is such that a ve
    rifiable full name must be supplied so we could not publish your comments - they were passed on to Michael however.