The City of Lubbock municipal pools are almost all open for the summer, but they're missing one key component: lifeguards.

This year there seems to be a shortage of lifeguards on duty Nationwide and in the Lubbock area, posing a potential threat to local families' summertime fun. Each pool is allowed a minimum of lifeguards on duty that must be maintained. If those minimum numbers are consistent, the pool will have to shut down due to safety protocols.

There is an effort to counter this concerning development, however.

"Texas Tech University has seen small numbers of attendance in their lifeguard classes this year starting back in February and through April," warned Texas Tech Aquatics Coordinator Sarah Sustrick, who started at the school as a student staff member and has worked the last 3 years as a professional staff member. That course is an important step toward becoming a life guard in Lubbock.

Once the course is completed, students who've completed it will be awarded an American Red Cross Lifeguarding Certificate as proof of the Red Cross lifeguard status, which is valid for two years. Graduates may get the opportunity to apply to be a lifeguard for the Texas Tech Leisure Pool (outdoors) for the summer, Texas Tech Aquatics Center (indoor year round), or they can just choose to apply for work at any other local pools.

Texas Tech has partnered with the YWCA and the City of Levelland to train people from their facilities to become lifeguards for a better group learning experience. Anyone as young as 15 years old can gain their certification to become a lifeguard, but Sustrick said that the past couple of years more high school teens have been getting their certifications than college students.

The Aquatics Center does have lifeguards year round for anyone certified with the opportunity to gain experience as a water safety instructor, lifeguard certification instructor and more. A lifeguard training pre-course test must be completed before full lifeguard classes can be taken at Texas Tech, the next pre-course test will be June 16th, 2022 with limited availability for signups.

The shortage of lifeguards in the Lubbock pools could cause the three pools that are currently open to shut down another pool even as Montelongo Pool is closed for repairs and slated to open later this week. The City of Lubbock is still accepting applications and urges anyone who is certified to apply thru the summer on their website.

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