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Town Lifeguards Prepare For Swim Season



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Newtown’s team of certified lifeguards, hired through its Parks & Recreation Department, met for their first official training of the season at Treadwell Park’s pool and Eichler’s Cove on May 22.

Despite the weather being too cold to get in the water that day, the kickoff to the season was just around the corner during Memorial Day weekend.

Under the guidance of the town’s new Director of Aquatics Kristin Rebelo, hired in March of this year, the lifeguards were walked through what was expected of them as employees of the town.

Ms Rebelo started the session by having everyone in attendance introduce themselves and participate in team building activities before going over information about scheduling shifts, payroll, and using the new key fobs.

Currently, the town has 48 lifeguards, with some who work seasonally and others who stay year-round to instruct swim lessons.

Joining Ms Rebelo this year as Assistant Waterfront Director is Samuel Rutkin; senior guards Keeley Baumann, Colby Delia, Sean McCleary, McKinley Seaver, and Conrad Reilly; and Head Swim Instructors Rebekah Jennings, Monica Hagn, and Martha “Mopsy” Seaver.

“The staff is going to continue to grow when the community center opens,” Ms Rebelo explained.

The community center is anticipated to open mid-July and will have a 25-yard, six-lane lap pool and a separate zero-entry recreational pool.

Residents and non-residents who are ages 15 and older are eligible to be hired as a lifeguard with the Town of Newtown, having completed their certification through the Red Cross.

“The great part about this year is that I’m certified to train, so we’ve been training our own staff in-house,” Ms Rebelo said. “It has allowed us to get kids from town that couldn’t find lifeguarding classes other places, so we get them from day one, which is fantastic.”

Those looking to get certified must complete more than seven hours of online learning before doing in-person training, which typically takes three days.

To lifeguard at Eichler’s Cove, a separate waterfront certification is required.

“The certifications are good for two years, but all pools, including us, ask for additional training throughout the year to make sure they are on top of their skills and understand what to do when something happens, because every pool is different,” Ms Rebelo said.

As Aquatics Director, she is in charge over overseeing swim lessons as well as what goes on at Treadwell Pool, Eichler’s Cove, and soon, the community center. That includes leading the lifeguard’s weekly trainings.

Trainings consist of teaching general pool safety rules, techniques like back-boarding, and being prepared for possible scenarios like spinal cord injuries or cases of drowning.

“As a lot of us know, when someone is in danger in the water, they may not be able to call out for help. For that reason, we make sure all of our lifeguards are highly trained to not only recognize when someone is in danger, but also how to assist the person that is in need help. We need to remember that in most cases, drowning is silent,” Ms Rebelo said.

To ensure public safety, every pool shift will have four to six lifeguards available, and at Eichler’s Cove, there will be three to five lifeguards accessible.

According to Newtown Parks & Recreation’s 2019 brochure, Treadwell Pool and Eichler’s Cove will remain open until Monday, September 2. From now until June 16, the pool and cove will be open Monday and Wednesday from noon to 8 pm; Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 7 pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.

For general questions related to the town pools and Eichler’s Cove, residents can reach out to Kristin Rebelo at kristin.rebelo@newtown-ct.edu or Newtown Parks & Recreation at 230-270-4340.

Get To Know Your Lifeguards

Keeley Baumann, 20, is a Senior Guard who has been lifeguarding for the Town of Newtown for five years.

“I have always had such a joy for making sure everyone is okay,” Ms Baumann said. “Lifeguarding is a huge reason why I am going into the medical field.”

This season, she is looking forward to spending time outside with her coworkers and getting to enjoy the community she lives and works in.

Fellow Senior Guard Conrad Reilly, 20, is starting his fifth summer working as a lifeguard in Newtown.

Having grown up in town swimming at Treadwell Pool and Eichler’s Cove, he was inspired to swim at Newtown High School in his teens. Lifeguarding has been a “fantastic job” for him where he has gotten to work with friends and pursue his passion for swimming.

“I’m looking forward to creating the same atmosphere that I was able to enjoy as a kid going to the pool,” Mr Reilly said.

Newtown resident Tommy Horan, 19, is also starting his fifth year working as a lifeguard in Newtown.

He has experience swimming from his time on the Boy’s Swim Team at Newtown High School and now teaches the younger generation as a Torpedo swim coach.

Going into the new season, Mr Horan said, “I’m looking forward to what Kristin [Rebelo, director of aquatics] can change.”

Head Guard/Senior Guard McKinley Seaver, 18, of Sandy Hook is going into his fifth year of lifeguarding with Newtown Parks & Recreation.

He was inspired to pursue the job, saying, “I was a swimmer, and it seemed like a good fit for me.”

Mr Seaver added, “I am looking forward to working with a great group of lifeguards from town.”

Newtown Director of Aquatics Kristin Rebelo, far right, teaches the staff of lifeguards about rules to follow when working at Eichler’s Cove, located at 11 Old Bridge Road in Sandy Hook. —Bee Photos, Silber
At Treadwell Park’s pool, located at 47 Philo Curtis Road in Sandy Hook, Newtown Director of Aquatics Kristin Rebelo leads the first lifeguard training session of the season on May 22.
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