JR. LIFEGUARD PREP FAQ
Does my swimmer need to be a fast swimmer to do this program?
Swimmers must be able to swim 50 yards of Freestyle (2 lengths of a 25 yard pool, like West End, South End, Miraleste and PenHi) without stopping or assistance. If you have to pull over to rest or wipe your eyes, you’ll want to get a few lessons for your budding swimmer before they try this course.
What do swimmers need to bring to class?
Swimmers need a 1-piece swimsuit that fits, goggles that work, and a towel. If hair is longer than a few inches (past your ears), they also need a cap. Caps can be either silcone (more expensive, thicker) or latex (less expensive, thinner). Do not get one that is fabric!
All of these things can be bought at any sporting goods store, or you can go where most local competitive swimmers go: The Swim Guy: 2772 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90404. 310-793-9150.
I’m not sure what a Jr. Lifeguard is, but all my kid’s friends are doing it. What is it?
A Jr. Lifeguard, or “JG”, is usually someone who participates in the Los Angeles County Jr. Lifeguard Program. This program, is administered and taught by actual L.A. County Lifeguards and has a long history here in the South Bay.
BeachSports, a private organization started by an LA Co Lifeguard, offers their own version of Junior Guards at Avenue I in Redondo. LA City also has a Junior Lifeguard program at Cabrillo Beach.
Jr. Guards must try out for the program, and those who make it report to a certain beach each day for 6 weeks during the summer. JG’s learn to do do calisthenics, run, swim, paddle, sometimes surf, and even do basic first aid. They learn about tides and rips and warning flags, and they compete against other JGs from other beaches. Some kids say it wouldn’t be summer without JGs!
What does my child need to do to try out?
Everyone who wants to be an LA County JG must go to an official LA Co JG Test Site (see the class schedule page for testing dates) and take a swim test. Depending on their age, swimmers must swim 100 yards Freestyle in under a certain time. (1:50 for swimmers 9-12, 1:40 for swimmers 13-14, and 1:30 for swimmers 15-17 years old), and pick up an object in 7 feet deep water.
For the BeachSports program, swimmers ages 9-16 must swim 100 yards of Freestyle under 1:50 and tread water independently for 5 minutes. ZAP is a official test site for BeachSports, you just need to make an appointment to get tested and signed off. Testing is free if you are currently swimming with ZAP either on our swim team or in a JG Prep class.
The standard seems fast... What if my child doesn’t make it?
If they don’t make it under the required time, they won’t be able to be a Jr. Guard. They can retake the test at a later test date/site, but if they still don’t make the cut at one of the three test dates, they will not be allowed to be a Jr. Lifeguard that year and we recommend that they continue their swim conditioning to build endurance and improve skills.
Why do they make the test so fast? Why are they so strict?
The test is important because all Jr. Guards swim in the ocean almost every day during the 6-week program. There are no walls, lane lines, or buoys to hang onto if you get tired or scared. Tides change, winds kick up, and any number of things can happen while you’re swimming in the ocean and is why it’s important for every JG to be a strong and confident swimmer before they start the program. Safety is a top priority for everyone. JGs isn’t for everyone, but most kids have fun when they are strong enough to get out there and do it. The guards won’t take the kids out in the ocean if it is unsafe.
Is JG Prep only for people who want to be a JG?
Nope! Anyone aged 9 (by July 30) and over, who can swim 50 yards of Freestyle continuously, can enroll in this class. We often have swimmers who don’t want to be a JG, but who just like swimming and want to stay in shape. Just know that the class is geared toward the Jr. Guard test, which means we are only teaching Freestyle technique, conditioning for Freestyle, and testing regularly.
Do the kids get tested in class?
Swimmers are timed regularly so they may keep track of their progress. Coaches will talk with your swimmer if they think s/he needs more work before the first test. Swimmers must get "officially" tested though to enroll in the actual JG programs.
Do you have class if it is raining?
We DO swim in the rain, but we DO NOT swim in lightening. The coaches are trained to gage whether lightning is close enough to evacuate the pool, and s/he will get you out if that happens. If you see lightning on your way to the pool, turn around and go home. We’ll schedule a makeup class in the event that this happens.
If we have a conflict and can’t make it, can my child do a makeup class?
We don’t do makeup classes, except in an instance of natural occurrences (lightening storm, earthquake, etc.) or something that shuts down our pool for safety reasons (ie chemical imbalance or a broken pump).
How many classes per week does my child need to take to pass the JG Test?
That depends on your swimmer. Stronger swimmers may need fewer classes, while kids who haven’t been in a pool since last summer may need more. Depending on how your child is progressing once we get to know them, we’ll check in with you and make recommendations in terms of frequency of training.
Do the coaches just make the kids swim laps or do they teach technique, too?
Going faster and building endurance is all about technique. The swimmers will definitely sweat, but they’ll also learn technique with the group and receive personalized corrections throughout the course. That being said, JG Prep is NOT glorified swim lessons. Participants MUST already be strong swimmers; we just help them build endurance nad confidence, and make minor tweaks to help them be more efficient.
What is the difference between JG Prep and Prep "Plus"?
JG Prep "Plus" has a slightly longer class period and has a prerequisite to enroll. Prep Plus is more advanced swimmers who already make the LA CO JG time standard.
It's really for water polo players wanting to supplement their current training, returning LA Co JGs who don't currently swim with a club team and want to get back into "swim shape" before July, swimmers who currently meet the JG standard for their age and just want to swim for fitness, current LA Co. JGs who want to qualify for the JG Cadet program, high school swimmers who want to stay in shape for HS season without competing, and young triathletes who want an edge in the water. It is currently only offered at our Miraleste site.