After a long day of school, senior Tim Hseih takes advantage of his ER4 and rushes to complete his homework before heading out at 4 p.m. to begin his part-time job—lifeguarding.
“I became a lifeguard because I was a former swimmer in the school’s swim team,” Hsieh said. “Although I am no longer on the team, I wanted to pursue a job that’s relevant to swimming so that I can utilize the skills I gained from my two years on the team.”
As a lifeguard at the Rosemead public pool, Hsieh is responsible for testing the pool’s chemical components to ensure that the pH and chlorine levels are leveled.
“It is important to maintain proper pH and chlorine levels because it ensures safety for the swimmers and kills pathogens in the water,” Hsieh said. “If the chemical levels are too high, the pool’s walls and floors [and human skin] get burned from the chlorine.”
Before becoming a lifeguard, Hsieh attended extensive training courses where he learned how to perform CPR and participated in mock exams where he had to save his co-worker from drowning. Through these trials, he learned how to make appropriate calls in stressful situations.
“I learned how to handle every possible pool-related situation such as when someone has a broken spine, gets gashed, has a bloody nose, or is unable to breathe,” Hsieh said. “When the situation is severe, I fish them out [of the water] and call emergency service.”
One instance where Hsieh had to utilize the knowledge he gained from training was when he encountered a girl drowning during his shift.
“When I noticed that a girl was drowning, I immediately used my horn to signal to the other lifeguards that I was going to save her,” Hsieh said. “I jumped into the pool and placed a rescue tube under her arms so that she could stay afloat.”
During his time as a lifeguard, Hsieh has refined his social skills from the daily interactions he has with his co-workers and other swimmers in the pool.
“Being around others at the pool has made me more sociable because it forces me into situations where I have to respond, whether it’s to answer a question about the pool or to engage in a conversation with my boss and co-workers,” Hsieh said.
As a lifeguard, Hsieh has expanded his knowledge of the pool as well as developed irreplaceable bonds with his co-workers.
“This job allows me to share my knowledge and teach other people how to swim as well as gives me the opportunity to act as a hero,” Hsieh said.