Dana Leonard (center) leads Winnetka Park District ...
May 20, 2012
Sand was flying, sweat was dripping and we were only about ten minutes into Lifeguard Boot Camp at Tower Road Beach Tuesday, May 15.
Under the instruction of Winnetka Park District Recreation Supervisor John Shea and personal trainer Dana Leonard, 36 lifeguards underwent an intense week of mandatory training to prepare them for certification.
Having missed out on Monday's two-mile run, I decided to stop in for Tuesday's class to see if I have what it takes to be a lifeguard. I quickly found out that I don't.
The groups of will-be lifeguards split up, and I decided to stay with Leonard while the other half followed Shea to the hill. Since Shea and Leonard found eight total water bottles and towels left behind from Monday's class, everything was done in sets of eight.
Leonard kept everyone moving with seemingly endless sets of squats, push ups, burpies, planks, mountain climbers, crunches and everything in between. Leonard definitely meant business, even demanding twenty push ups when there was too much talking.
Although I had done many of the exercises before, the quick repetitions quickly wore me out and I had to sit a few rounds out while everyone else kept trucking.
The second half of the program was a piece of cake, but that's only because I decided to be a slacker and catch my breath.
While I was busy relaxing, like one typically does on a beach, Shea had the lifeguards running up the hill, walking back down, doing 10 squats, 10 push ups, and repeating it for eight total repetitions.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday brought new challenges for the lifeguards, but the one day was plenty for me.
"I'm pretty impressed," Leonard said. "They've all been troopers."
If Tuesday's work out was any indication of the rest of the week, I completely agree. Take my word for it, Winnetka's swimmers are going to be in good hands this summer.
And the boot camp was only the beginning of ensuring that.
The boot camp was specifically geared toward preparing the crew for the 550 yard swim, during which they must use 200 yards of front crawl, 200 yards of breaststroke and 150 yards of either front crawl or breaststroke. But that's only the first hurdle of certification.
Another involves swimming 5 yards, submerging and retrieving three diving rings placed 5 yards apart in 4-7 feet depth of water, and resurfacing and swimming 5 yards to the side of the pool.
Get your beach body
Beach Body Fitness classes come to Tower Road Beach
As the beach isn't just for lifeguards, the Winnetka Park District is giving residents a chance to try out the park district's all-new Beach Body Fitness courses free of charge during open house week through Friday, May 25.
Instructors Dana Leonard, Matt Stennis and Heather Leahy will lead the courses at Tower Road Beach.
Class selections include basic training/boot camp, circuit burn and sculpt, and surpassing the bar at the beach.
After this week, registered residents are able to drop in on a class for $19, or non-registered for $21. Student drop-in rates are $15 for registered, $17 for non-registered.
There are also punchcards available for 5 classes, 10 classes, or 20 classes.
For more information about Beach Body Fitness, visit winpark.org.
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