AUSTIN, Texas — It's getting warmer, and public pools will be open soon – if they have enough lifeguards.
Earlier this month, KVUE reported that Barton Springs Pool will be closed Mondays and Wednesdays due to a shortage of certified Open Water Lifeguards. And the City of Austin is looking to hire hundreds of lifeguards for the summer.
KVUE'S Rob Evans decided to see what it's like to be a lifeguard in Austin.
"People swim in this pool every day of the year," said Cassidy Stillwell, the program director at Barton Springs Pool.
Stillwell said whether it's the dead of winter or the middle of summer, "35 degrees or 105, there are people swimming."
The people are always swimming, and the lifeguards are always watching.
"It's amazing," Stillwell said of the experience. "Every day feels like a gift when you're on [the] stand here."
Stillwell started as a lifeguard eight years ago.
"There was a giant banner saying, 'lifeguards needed,'" he told KVUE.
He quickly realized why so many lifeguards were needed.
Barton Springs Pool, for example, is huge. Three football fields long and up to 18 feet deep. As many as 20 lifeguards can be on one shift during summer days.
And they're all busy, performing more rescues than they can remember.
"I can't even think of how many off the top of my head. It's a pretty regular occurrence here,'" Stillwell said.
It's often a matter of saving a life in front of a big audience. Stillwell rememberss the applause from sometimes thousands of people lining the hill at the pool.
"There's no feeling like that," he said with a smile.
It's a rewarding and fun job and one you'll never forget.
"This is one of the best places to work," Stillwell said, "It really is. Sparkling clear water, tons of cool Austinites. You never know who you'll meet, who you'll see."
If being a lifeguard is something you're passionate about because you love helping people, the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department's Aquatic Division is looking to hire and train hundreds of lifeguards. You'll be paid $15 per hour, and there's a $500 summer completion bonus for temporary staff who meet the criteria. Click here to learn more.
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