The shortage of lifeguards continues

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They recruit young swimmers (from left). Photo: Ludwig, Tamara

In Künzelsau, the fact that the Kocher outdoor swimming pool was only open in the summer afternoons, and in this record summer, caused a great deal of discontent. The reason: lack of rescuers. Summer is already over, but the problem remains.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, closed swimming pools and distance rules have exacerbated the situation, emphasizes Hanna Hettinger, president of the local group of the German Life Saving Society (DLRG). “That’s why we are grateful that the city of Künzelsau decided to let Tolkien go, despite the energy crisis,” said the 23-year-old during a meeting in the municipality’s indoor swimming pool. Because without training opportunities, there is no lifeguard training.

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There are no lifeguards in Künzelsau

“Of course, we could build a certain theory and team. But if there is no water, the essential is missing,” says Johanna Hubb, who is herself active in DLRG’s training and security service. Regular exercise is also important for endurance, Hettinger adds. Swimming a certain distance, for example in a lake, is already physically demanding, then in case of rescue there is also a need to drag the person. “This is exhausting.”

A vicious cycle may occur

Closed pools don’t just mean a shortage of lifeguard training, however. Fewer children also learn to swim. As a result, there is ultimately a shortage of offspring from which future rescuers can emerge. At the same time, the number of people who may need to be rescued because they cannot swim properly is increasing. A vicious circle, which is also noticeable in the DLRG itself. Anyone who doesn’t come into contact with DLRG through swim lessons is unlikely to find their way into the club. And especially among young adults, there are often gaps as they move after school to work or study. That’s why Hettinger and the Hub want to encourage people of all ages to take up swimming.

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Work when others are free

Johanna Hubb herself only came to DLRG as an adult, with her teaching job, and “got stuck because of the social interactions,” she says with a smile. “The community plays a big role,” says Peter Zimmerman, project manager at Schauer & Co and responsible for technical operation at Tollkün. “The majority of our trainees have previously had contact with DLRG,” he informs. This also lays the foundation for young people to become swimming champions. “It doesn’t work without DLRG,” he emphasizes.

The fact that the temperature in Künzelsau’s indoor pool has dropped two degrees to 26 degrees does not worry the DLRG team. “It’s totally fine with us,” Hettinger says. Finally, you move into swim training. And the two degrees, plus the elimination of a hot bath day, are worth it, as Zimmerman reports. “That’s more than a third of the savings.” A number that also surprises the mayor of Künzelsau, Stefan Neumann, himself a member of the DLRG. he talks more about skipping the bathroom,” he says.

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