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Tryout Training: Day 6

Day 6’s pool workout. Keep training! April 19th’s tryout is only 18 days away. Check back every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for more suggested pool workouts to prepare you for our 500m qualifying swim in under 9 minutes.

Warm Up
300 swim choice
300 kick IM order
Main Set
3 x 200 swim on 3:50
2 x 150 pull on 2:50
2 x 100 kick on 2:00
2 x 50 0n 0:50
4 x 25 sprint
Warm Down
4 x 50 choice kick
100 easy

Tryout Training: Day 5

We missed the update Wednesday! But Day 5 is the day to test your progress! Keep checking for more suggested pool workouts in preparation for our 500m Tryouts, April 19th, 7am at UTMB Field House.

Warm Up
300 swim choice
300 kick IM order
Main Set
1000 timed swim
Warm Down
6 x 50 alternating choice kick and pull
100 easy

Tryout Training: Day 4

Day 4’s pool workout for those preparing for our upcoming tryout, April 19th at the UTMB Field house. Be there at 7am!

Warm up
300 swim choice stroke
300 kick (75 of each, IM order)
Main Set
3 x 100 swim IM on 1:15
1 minute rest
3 x 150 swim on 2:50
1 minute rest
3 x 50 swim on 1:10
300 pull on 6:00 breathing every 3rd stroke
250 swim on 5:00 breathing every 5th stroke
Warm Down
100 swim recovery breathing every 7th stroke
100 easy

Tryout Training: Day 3

Day 3 of our suggested workouts in preparation for the 500m swim under 9 minutes tryout for our Rookie School! Keep training! And give us a call for with any questions!

Warm Up
300 swim choice stroke
300 kick IM order (75 each)
Main Set
3x 200 swim on 3:55 (1 pull, 2 swim)
150 swim on 3:00
2 x 50 fly on 1:15
150 swim on 3:00
50 fly on 1:15
150 swim on 3:00
50 fly on 1:15
repeat above with breast instead of fly
6 x 50 kick on 50 choice
Warm Down
100 easy

Tryout Training: Day 2

Day 2 of workout suggestions in preparation for our second Rookie School tryout on April 19.

Warm Up
300 swim choice
300 Kick with fins choice
Main Set
3 x 100 swim pace on 2:15
50 easy
3 x 100 swim pace (faster times than first) on 2:15
50 easy
3 x 100 swim pace (faster than second) on 2:15
300 pull
2 x 150 swim pace on 3:00
2 x 75 swim pace on 1:30
2 x 50 swim pace on 1:00
4 x 25 sprint IM order on 0:50
3 x 50 kick choice on 1:10
Warm Down
100 easy

Tryout Training: Day 1

Our second tryout for the 2014 season is just under a month away! To help those of you who are preparing for our 500m swim in under 9 minutes, we will be posting pool workout ideas each Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the coming weeks to help get you ready for the tryout swim and our Rookie School.

Day 1

Warm up
300m swim (choice of stroke)
300m Drill Swim IM order (Butterfly, Back, Brest, Free)
Main Set
3 x 200m swim pace on 3:45
3 x 50m swim with fins on 0:50
3 x 50m sprint on 1:10
2 x 200m pull on 3:45
3 x 50m swim with fins on 0:50
3x 50m sprint on 1:10
200m sprint
100m easy
200m kick with fins
4 x 50m kick choice
Warm down
200m easy

 

Check out a full list of pool workouts in our Training section. Or if you’re looking for other workout ideas, give us a call at 409-763-4769 and we’ll help get you ready for Rookie School.

Tryouts

The group of young men and women radiated nervousness as they lined up on the sand. “On your mark, get set, GO!” shouted the instructor as they raced down the beach around the tower and into the water.

I was about half way out to the buoy when a group of good swimmers caught me and basically swam right over me. By the time I got going again a wave smacked me right in the face as I was taking a breath. When I got to the buoy I had to hang on for a few seconds to catch my breath before pushing on.

The year was 1983 and I finished 11th out of 30 in the Beach Patrol tryouts. They took the top 8. Finally, around the 4th of July I got a call that I could come and work. There was no formal training and no special first aid course other than what I got when I took the Red Cross pool lifesaving course. I was just given a radio and sent to work.

Tomorrow is the first of three tryouts for the Beach Patrol at 7am at the UTMB pool. If you know anyone that wants to work on the Beach Patrol spread the word. The basic swim test is the same as it was 32 years ago when I bombed it. Details are on our website. Candidates who want to start working right away can go through the first lifeguard academy over spring break. We pay them to attend the school where they are certified in CPR, First Aid, and beach lifeguarding. They also go through training in tourist relations, city codes pertaining to Galveston’s beaches, gulf coast ecology, and near shore topography and hydrology. Coupled with all the classroom work is hands on training in how to swim and make rescues in surf, search and recovery, and the basics of lifesaving sport. It’s a busy week and we’ll do it all over again the second week in May for the second lifeguard academy.

In addition to training for new lifeguards we are starting our annual training session for dispatchers, supervisors, and personal water craft rescue operations. By the time Memorial Weekend hits we’ll be up to speed. Despite the huge amount of effort all this requires of our permanent staff members there’s a big payoff for both our staff and the public. The inconsistent training that once took a whole summer is taught in a uniform manner. Each employee is taught the same material and instilled with similar core values. Any one of our guards can handle whatever is thrown at them when and if they complete the training.

So for those that would like to try being a beach guard, I hope you’ll give it a shot. I’m so happy I squeaked in all those years ago. For me it was a life changer. Not many people get to go home at the end of the day with the knowledge that they saved someone.

Institutional Memory

Galveston city and county have a history of resilience. Despite our mercurial weather and politics we somehow manage to pull together when we need to. Many of those of us living here now have ancestors that rebuilt the city after the 1900 storm and erected the physical embodiment of that resilience and willingness to take on seemingly insurmountable tasks together when needed.

Only a few years back we once again proved that those qualities are still just as strong when we worked together to rebuild our communities after Hurricane Ike. We couldn’t have gotten as far as we have so quickly without governmental help, but much of that recovery happened by neighbors helping neighbors.

The wounds left by Hurricane Ike are diminishing, although we have a long way still to go before the physical and psychological damage is healed. Enough time, however, has passed that we’re already losing some of the institutional memory that our decision makers from that time had. How do we, as a community, keep the myriad of lessons learned despite the changes in city leadership and as people in key roles from that experience cycle out?

In a very forward thinking move, many of our city and county leaders attended an emergency management course at the FEMA training center in Emmetsburg, Maryland last week. It says a lot about the current leadership that they realized the importance of taking all of these busy, important people away from their duties for an entire week with the purpose of preparing them for how to deal with all stages of a catastrophic event, from emergency response all the way through debris management, restoring infrastructure and financial and psychological recovery.

The course itself was intense and even included three “table top” exercises that lasted several hours where we had to work together to address different problems that arose. A central theme that was repeatedly stressed was the importance of relationships and communication in getting a jump on both the response and recovery phase. It helped that we were locked into a compound in the middle of a blizzard! What little time was spent out of class was spent together continuing course discussions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a group of Beach Patrol supervisors were taking their own course in disaster response. Kara Harrison, Josh Hale, Mary Stewart, and Kris Pompa went through a grueling swift water/urban flooding course in San Marcos. They spend 4 long days and one night in wetsuits learning swift water rescue techniques, search and recovery, and how to respond during a flood. This meets a goal we’ve been working on for some time on the Beach Patrol. We now have every full time member certified as a “Swift Water Rescue Technician”, which will prove invaluable to our community when we have our next flooding incident.

We don’t know when but we all know there will be another big one. The challenge is to keep the skills and institutional knowledge ready for that eventuality. Being prepared takes work, commitment, resources, and community buy in, but it’s essential.

IMG_1071

Tommy Lee of GEMS and Peter Davis of GIBP at FEMA training camp in Maryland, 2014.

Police Chief Training

I was in Huntsville all this week for police chief training. The state of Texas mandates that all chiefs go through 40 hours of training every two year cycle. It’s interesting that Texas has so many departments per capita and the majority of departments are 5 or less. Even though we only have 7 certified officers on the Beach Patrol, our staff of well over 100 employees during the summer season makes us one of the larger departments in the room. I’m sure it’s hard to design a curriculum for a group that has such a wide range of responsibilities, but the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) does a good job.

I always kind of dread it, mostly because I have a hard time sitting still for 9 hours a day, but like lots of training we do, I’m always glad I went and bring good things back to the job. The topics are usually interesting and many of them are helpful. Of course we cover updates in the laws and pertinent issues related to whatever is current. For example, the last couple of cycles had sessions on terrorism. There are always really great presentations on management, human resources, and leadership that are easily put into practice.

This session we had a really good presenter named Kelli Arena who was a reporter for CNN for a number of years. She talked about the managing a crisis while handling the media. It was good to hear how this works from a reporter’s perspective. A big part of the discussion was about tension between law enforcement/public safety and the press. Of the 70 or so police chiefs in the room the majority admitted to avoiding the press when able and having predominately negative experiences when dealing with the media.

Our core mission is two pronged. Coupled with rescue, prevention and preparedness is an underlying philosophy that puts a very high priority on public education. This is one reason I don’t share the negative view of the press. I’m not saying there’s been a perfect history, but we’ve been lucky to have a long standing positive relation with most of the media outlets in the area.  Each person that learns about beach safety is one less person that we have to move out of dangerous areas or rescue. The media is an integral part in getting this information out there and has been very generous about letting us piggyback water safety information on to news stories related to events on the beach.

Ultimately all public safety works for the general population. The press is a direct line to the people. Part of the reason we’ve had a good relationship with the press is that we are as open and responsive to them as we can reasonably be. The same for the public we serve. Things work better when we all keep in mind that each of us plays a part in the greater good.

Doing the right thing brings good back to you.

 

Terrible Tuesday, Winter Activities and Marketing

After the first 5 minutes of swimming, we still felt like our faces were going to fall off.

On the initial immersion, we felt as if we couldn’t breathe at all. We had to force ourselves to put our heads down in the water and relax enough to swim. Every time we opened our mouths to breathe the water felt like a freezing cold water fountain. Those with cavities definitely felt it!

By the time we finished the first lap, our bodies were starting to adjust. Hands, feet, and faces became numb and the pain receded to a dull ache. By the end of the next lap, done on rescue boards, our core temperature was smoking hot and generating enough extra heat to make it much less of an ordeal to enter for the third lap, which was another swim.

After six laps, three swims and three paddles, and 9 runs we had averaged about an hour and 20 minutes of training. Enough to know that your body will adapt to water in the low 50’s or high 40’s. We do this workout, dubbed the “Terrible Tuesday”, once a week during the winter months. Enough to not become afraid or distracted or disoriented when you have to jump in for a rescue.

Training like this during the winter is a welcome break from the frenzy of activity at the Beach Patrol leading up to the next season. Looking back over the past 3 months we’ve replaced all the downed or damaged signs on the beach, done a lengthy employee review,  rebuilt all of our 26 lifeguard towers, ordered all vehicles and supplies, updated or training and policy manuals, trained and recertified staff members, revised our employee evaluation process, created an annual workflow calendar, revised our website, attended job fairs and other recruiting events, and helped in the design process of the new Tourist Ambassador Training program the Park Board has been creating. We’ve also researched and ordered almost all of our supplies for the year including vehicles, medical supplies, uniforms, rescue equipment, etc.

The nice thing about having the time to concentrate on all these internal projects is that once the beach crowd arrives we can focus almost completely on that. We have our hands so full in the “season” hiring, re-training, and supervising our 110 or so seasonal employees that it feels like there’s not room for much else. With 5-7 million visiting the beaches and so many seasonal workers it makes sense that we’d be stressed and running around like crazy to get ready for the coming storm!

With more tourists coming more of the year, and a focus on increasing tourism during the “shoulder seasons”, we are working to solidify our infrastructure and be prepared to expand to more of a year round operation if needed. As tourism becomes more and more important to our economy and livelihood, the best marketing we can possibly do is to make sure they feel safe and that the beaches and island are attractive.