It’s Time to Swim Across Texas


Anderson Mill Lifeguards

Lifeguards at El Salido Pool gather for a picture after swimming 20 laps for Swim Across Texas. Photo courtesy of El Salido.

The Swim Across Texas lifeguard challenge has begun again. Every summer lifeguards all over Texas take part in this challenge to raise awareness for child drowning, while also keeping lifeguards in shape as they spend hours in the sun watching the patrons swim. Throughout July, lifeguards are encouraged to swim five miles a week, totaling to 20 miles by the end of the month. This challenge is a fundraiser for Colin’s Hope, an organization to spread the word of the dangers of child drowning with the community.

At El Salido, managers are active in getting their lifeguards to swim laps during their downtime so they can get their daily laps in, while also cooling off so they don’t get too dehydrated over the course of the day. During each month’s in-service, lifeguards warm up by swimming a 500, which is 20 laps and will also count toward their 20 mile goal. A mile is 66 laps at El Salido and varies at other pools depending on how long the pool is. Competitive swimmers can also count their practice laps toward their 20 mile goal. Every lifeguard is required to participate and record their laps per each day.

“I swam 11 miles,” Riley McBrearty ‘18 said. “This challenge is letting everyone know the dangers of child drowning and we do it to keep in shape and be able to keep watch easier while the in the heat.”

Each lifeguard is up for 30 minutes guarding, and down for 30 minutes. Waiting in the guard room can be boring and hot, so most guards like to get in the pool and cool off. Some guards will swim during their downtimes while others will come to the pool during their free time when they’re not working. It is important for guards to stay in shape over the summer so they can be ready for any situation. In many cases, rescues made at the pool will be involved with people larger than the lifeguard.

“After adding all my practice laps, I swam 25 miles total,” Aurora Witzel ‘19 said. “I do summer league swim team and waterpolo practice, so I counted all the laps during those practices.”

This challenge is also a competition at El Salido. The lifeguard that swims the most miles will win many prizes, including gift cards and candy. Since competitive swimmers get more laps in everyday at practice, there are prizes for the competitive swimmers that swim the most miles and non-competitive swimmers that swim the most miles. Every lifeguard that swims 20 miles or more will be able to get a Swim Across Texas t-shirt that comes in red or blue.

“I swam 30 miles,” Paige Castillo ‘20 said. “I got a blue t-shirt since the red shirts will just make it seem like a have another lifeguard shirt.”

This is the third year lifeguards at El Salido took part in this challenge. The lifeguards were able to surpass the amount of miles, 801, that it would take to swim across Texas. The cashiers at the office and the pools are still collecting money that will go toward Colin’s Hope. This challenge will continue on next year, and the next and so on. Although the challenge has ended, many lifeguards will continue to spread the word of the dangers of child drowning.