By Christian Pollard
The Nova Scotia provincial lifesaving championships will take place this Sunday, Mar. 19, at the Canada Games pool and world-class lifeguard Chris Goulet will be the captain of team Dalplex.
“I’ll be leading a team of four there, and I’ll be doing three of the four individual events,” said Goulet, who has been a lifeguard for 12 years and competing for five.
Originally from Tillsonburg, Ont., Goulet represented Canada at the world lifesaving championships this past October.
“The best part for me was standing on the line with people from different countries, and realizing just how global it is,” said Goulet.
Goulet was a runner for Dalhousie during his undergraduate studies and was recruited to compete as a lifeguard because of his experience and athletic strengths.
“My strength is the beach and the running stuff. I’ve been taught all the pool stuff and paddle boards but my strength has always been the beach because of my running background,” Goulet said. “There are certain events in the pool where I’m stronger – like line throw, manikin etc.”
There are six events taking place at the championship this weekend – an obstacle swim, obstacle relay, 100m manikin tow, line throw, manikin carry, and manikin carry relay.
Goulet is best at the line throw, manikin carry and manikin relay.
For the manikin carry, a competitor must swim 25m and dive to pick up a submerged manikin and carry it back to the finish line.
Watch Goulet as he demonstrates the pickup.
The manikin relay involves four team members, each swimming 25m and passing it off to a teammate.
Watch as Goulet and a teammate demonstrate the switch.
The line throw is a simple event, where the competitor must reel in the line, toss it out to a waiting teammate, and pull him back as quickly as possible.
Watch Goulet as he explains and demonstrates with a teammate.
Lifesaving competitions have been held since the 1930s. Lifesaving was recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a sport in 1996.
It’s not popular in Canada, but in the southern hemisphere, it’s a different story.
“It’s hard to sell. In Australia and South Africa, it’s a huge sell. In Canada people view it as a part time job that students do. It is getting more and more popular, and that’s because people just didn’t know it existed,” said Goulet.
With competition from hockey and other more mainstream sports, lifesaving may never reach the front page, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to grow the sport.
“It needs better development at the grassroots level,” said Goulet. “Don’t let the people who are doing it now let a gap form between people coming up, and keep developing it and who knows where it’ll go from there.”