Shalom College teacher Michael Harris pipped lifeguards half his age as he crossed the mission test line first in the Surf Life Saving Queensland lifeguard proficiency testing at Kellys Beach.
Lifeguards from across the region were put through their paces and faced both physical and mental challenges to ensure they remain ready to respond to various incidents that may occur on beaches from Yeppoon to Hervey Bay.
Part of the proficiency test has the lifeguards tackle the fitness test named the mission, which comprises a 600m swim, 800m run, 600m board, 800m paddle and then another 800m run again, all up 1.2km of water and 1.6km of running.
The lifeguards have 28 minutes, along with an 800m timed swim in a pool, to complete it in order to obtain their ticket.
At 55 years of age Michael said it was a great feeling to complete the mission test in 18 minutes and two seconds.
“It’s always good to be the old person winning,” Michael laughed.
“I think I am the oldest lifeguard here and I have been competing now in everything from swimming, water polo, lifesaving and triathlons for the last 50-odd years.”
“It’s something I enjoy doing, and two of my family members that are doing lifeguard as well, and a younger daughter who is in nippers now and she will do it.
“I really enjoy the days when I get to go against some of the younger people, and it’s enjoyable.”
Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Lifeguard Supervisor for Wide Bay Capricorn Branch Julie Davis said there were about 35 life guards who had travelled from as far as Yeppoon and Hervey Bay to complete their proficiency testing at Kellys Beach.
Julie said the assessment, combined with a rigorous training program, ensured the highest standard of competency.
“Basically, what today is, is bringing all the life guards together … so all of our lifeguards are on the same page, ready to hit the ground running when we start up on 19 September,” Julie said.
Julie said after watching the lifeguards participate in the mission test and seeing one of the older lifeguards finish with the fastest time showed the quality of lifeguards in the region.
“I think it shows the quality of people we have here in Bundaberg, you know they just give it their all and are very passionate about what they do, they like doing it,” she said.
“There’s a bit of camaraderie between all the guys as well, which I think is fantastic. I am really proud of all of them, they do a fantastic job.”
Lifeguards also undertook water-based rescues, jet skis, first aid and advanced resuscitation, as well as other competencies during the day.
- Earlier report: Lifeguards training at Kellys Beach on Saturday