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High school students step up at Carbondale pool

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By Jimmy Serrano

Sopris Sun Intern

Matthew Wampler and Cheyenne Beightel are both finishing their first summer as lifeguards at the John M. Fleet Swimming Pool in Carbondale. Matthew attends Roaring Fork High School and Cheyenne goes to Glenwood Springs High School. Both are looking forward to their junior year. Swimming is a core part of each of their lives. Matthew visited the swimming pool on a regular basis each summer as a child and Cheyenne had been on the Team Sopris swim team for six years. Due to this, they decided to become lifeguards and work at the Carbondale pool.

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To become lifeguards, Matthew and Cheyenne had to take a lifeguard pre-test. which entailed swimming 300 meters (100 meters freestyle, 100 meters breaststroke, and 100 meters any style), and treading water for two minutes without using their hands. Once they passed, they also took a lifeguard certification class to learn first aid, CPR and to have in-water training. They then applied to the swimming pool and were accepted. Cheyenne began in June and Matthew in July.

A typical day for them is about seven to nine hours long. They get to the pool in the morning, clock in and change clothes. Then they remove the pool covers and lap lanes. Once completed, they keep a careful eye out to make sure everyone at the pool is enjoying themselves in a safe manner. When closing they put the pool covers back on and clean the bathrooms.

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Matthew and Cheyenne both love their job and the people they work with. They enjoy almost everything about it, save for a few pet peeves. For example, when asked what it would take for someone to get whistled, Matthew replied, “Running. Everyone runs.” Cheyenne explained that her pet peeve is babysitting. It annoys her when parents drop off their toddlers and expect to have them watched. None of this gets in their way though, and they enjoy every second of their jobs.

When asked whether she has had to jump in to save someone, Cheyenne said “I’ve had to jump in and rescue two distressed swimmers.” Matthew has yet to jump in to rescue anyone, except for the occasional child in a floaty.

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Generally, more children visit the pool except when the swimming lanes are open; during those times, more adults visit. There are usually four lifeguards who work for the pool, mainly high school students.

The John M. Fleet Swimming Pool’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it will remain open until Sept. 1.

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