Jr. Lifeguards and Open Water Swim Clinic
by Tara Wells
The Costa Ballena Lifeguard Association is growing and as we've grown, we've been able to network and meet other individuals from like-minded organizations in Costa Rica. We're all working together to help make Costa Rica's beaches safer and take drowning off the list as the 2nd leading cause of accidental death in the country.
While we were in Guanacaste for the ISLA (International Surf Lifesaving Association) training, we met with Ernst Van Der Poll and Ariel La Fuente, the leaders of a strong Jr. Lifeguard program called Swim Safe Costa Rica. Ariel and his team of decided volunteers came to the Costa Ballena over the weekend of June 29-30 to help us teach our first Jr. Lifeguard clinic at Playa Dominicalito. Through a series of games, training, and hands-on practice, the kids had fun learning and practicing new safety techniques. I think everyone involved can agree the first event was a great success!
Another event we hosted that same weekend was an open water swim clinic at Playa Dominicalito, led by Julio Aragon, master swimmer and owner of 4 Strokes Swim Academy in San Jose. Julio taught important open water techniques such as entering and exiting the water through the waves, sighting, conservation of energy, efficient swim stroke, and working with rips and currents. All these techniques are great to practice, especially useful when surfing and your leash breaks and you find yourself with a long swim back to the beach. Additionally, open water swimming is a fun and freeing way to get your exercise in a low impact way.
We ended the weekend at the annual Fourth of July Lifeguard Fundraiser at Roca Verde where we celebrated another year of the program with great camaraderie, food, and drinks. Thank you again to all those involved that organized the event and for all our generous donors and event sponsors that keep our program afloat year after year. We have an amazing community here and we wouldn't be on the beaches without you. Thank you!
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