It’s like a joke when you see lifeguards behind world’s top swimmers but lifeguards are important during swimming events as even professional swimmers get injuries or perhaps they are even more prompt to get injured in professional competition than in a casual swim. There are possibilities of debilitating cramps, heart attacks and even head-crunching crashes into the wall in such olympic events.
FINA one of the International governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water swimming said “In order to protect the health and safety of persons using swimming facilities for the purposes of recreation, training and competition, owners of public pools or pools restricted only to training and competition must comply with the requirements established by law and the health authorities in the country where the pool is situated.”
In Brazilian there is a law that any public pool over a certain size has to have lifeguards. Ricardo Prato, sport manager for aquatics, said: ‘It is a Brazilian law that any public pool over a certain size has to have lifeguards. ‘We wish we didn’t have them either but we have to have them.’
Don’t feel too bad for them, though – the job, essentially sitting around and watching the Olympics, pays them about £260 for two weeks’ work. Prato told Reuters.
The job may seem pointless, but it turns out the Rio Games has a legal requirement to have lifeguards on duty. However, these lifeguards stand on duty just in case something were to go wrong as these swimmers are all capable of saving themselves, even they are always within arms reach of the lane line or a wall.