Local lifeguards crowned top team

The Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Deirdre Hargey presented Piotr Kopowski, Olivia Armstrong, Dean Beattie and Mark Wylie with their Top Team Award.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Deirdre Hargey presented Piotr Kopowski, Olivia Armstrong, Dean Beattie and Mark Wylie with their Top Team Award.

Lifeguards from Valley Leisure Centre have been recognised as Northern Ireland’s top lifeguarding team.

The Newtownabbey-based staff won the Top Team Lifeguarding competition hosted by social enterprise GLL, in partnership with Belfast City Council on August 9.

The competition involved lifeguards from council areas across Northern Ireland pitching themselves against each other in a battle of lifeguarding skills, strength and knowledge.

The highly interactive competition took place at Olympia Leisure Centre and saw twelve teams test their skills, both in and out of the pool.

Belfast lifeguard teams from Shankill, Whiterock, Olympia, Falls and Grove leisure centres competed against teams from Banbridge, Lurgan, Antrim, Newtownabbey and Lagan Valley. The teams were scored by two independent lifeguarding trainers from the UK.

Each team was made up of four members who competed in scenarios designed to test their skills at dealing with a number of incidents including simulated CPR, first aid management and in-water rescue.

These were set in both a dry environment and in the pool area. Lifeguards were then scored on the speed in which they reacted to the scenarios and the protocols they followed in their responses.

Dean Beattie from the winning team said: “We are thrilled to have won the Top Team Championship this year. Being a lifeguard is a privilege and we take our lifeguarding skills seriously. We came for a bit of fun and to challenge ourselves but didn’t really think for one minute we would win.

“Getting to know lifeguards from other teams and compare our skills and abilities has been great fun and we look forward to defending our title again next year.”