Impact caught up with Alex Collard, a third year History and Contemporary Chinese Studies student and President of UoN Lifesaving Club to talk about life at one of the university’s niche sports clubs, and their upcoming competition against teams from across the country.
‘Lifesaving is not a sport.’ Discuss.
AC: “Lifesaving is a sport. This weekend we have around thirty-five teams coming up from different universities all over the country to compete against each other, and this is just the first competition of the year. We’ve got our BUCS equivalent, BULSCA, and there is a national competition every year around Easter. It’s not just a British sport either; there are teams all over Europe, in America, down in Australia, and now that I think about it, I remember hearing about there being a Hong Kong team as well. We have a whole range of different swimming events, as well as competitive First-Aid scenarios; if anything, this variety makes us more of a sport, not less of one.”
The university will host the first Lifesaving event of the year this weekend, where thirty-five teams from across the nation will descend on DRSV’s pool, with UoN hoping for a repeat of last year’s solid showing, where their A-team came third overall. Each competition has five events; two first-aid scenarios, and three relays in the pool. The scenarios, or SERCs (Simulated Emergency Response Competitions) as they’re otherwise known, involve a team of four entering a room or area in which there are a variety of casualties that you have two minutes to treat, with points awarded for competence, teamwork, and prioritisation.
“It just proves that it always helps to know a bit of First-Aid, since you never know when it might come in useful”
After hauling people out of minibuses and rescuing survivors from dinghies, the action moves on to the relays. Rope-Throw involves throwing a rope to your teammates in the pool and towing them in. This weekend’s speed event is Manikin Carry, where competitors tow an orange manikin from one end of the pool to the other as fast as possible. Finally, Swim and Tow involves pulling another teammate a full two lengths, and is naturally dreaded by most.
How did you get involved?
AC: “I work as a Lifeguard back home, and despite learning all the necessary first-aid and rescue skills required, I’d never actually had to use them. Still haven’t, actually. So obviously, when I found out there was a sport specifically designed around a more dramatized version of Lifeguarding, I was immediately drawn to it. That’s just me, though, we’ve had quite a few medics in our time who have wanted to put their First-Aid skills into practice, swimmers who wanted something a little different, and, of course, people who just wanted to keep their fitness up and have a good time!”
— UoN Lifesaving Club (@UoNLifesaving) August 16, 2017
How has DRSV benefitted your club? Do you think the pool based clubs have missed out on the facility upgrades?
AC: “The DRSV is great! Compared to what we had in my first year in the temporary sports centre, our dryside sessions in Studio 1 are better than they’ve ever been, now we have all the extra space and resources available. And although the pool hasn’t really been upgraded, it’s always been a perfect facility for everything we get up to. Speaking as someone who’s used a lot of pools in their time, the Nottingham pool is one of, if not the best I’ve ever used. It’s just so clean and well-managed!”
Have you, or do you know anyone who has had to use their skills in a more serious context?
AC: “You’d be surprised. I was coming home from Ocean about three weeks ago at about four in the morning. I found a guy lying on the pavement with bleeding hands. He’d managed to call a mate, and together we took him back to his house, where I cleaned him up a bit and made sure his head was alright; he said he’d knocked it on the way down. He’s fine now; his mate managed to track me down on Facebook the next morning and say thanks. Even so, it just proves that it always helps to know a bit of First-Aid, since you never know when it might come in useful.”
Who are the star lifesavers who will make waves on Saturday 28th?
AC: “All of our returners are going to be showing off over the weekend, but special credit has to be given to those captaining our fresher teams, Henry McColl and Jack ‘The Tank’ Tapson. I imagine that all our freshers will be making a splash, and all credit goes to them for throwing themselves in at the deep end…”
If you want to give Lifesaving a go, their training times are Tuesdays 7-8 at the UoN Pool, Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 in the pool, 5:00-6:00 in Studio 1 DRSV, Sundays 5:00-6:30 Studio 1, and 6:30-8:00 in the pool.
Featured image courtesy of UoN Lifesaving Club.