School Lifesaving Courseby Ry from England (slightly edited for better comprehension by swimmers over 25 years old)
Ross, Aidy, Jake and me had been enlisted to help Mr. Swim teach the new kids lifesaving. It is very important to our school to teach important ‘life’ stuff.
In our morning class period kids are taught first aid, how to use defibrillators and other life skills. The first thing we are taught around water and pools is lifesaving techniques, which can be a problem if you have new kids who can’t even swim!
So, now there is a special key code to enter the pool area, it was installed during the summer break. But Ross and me have been trusted with a code and the school can actually tell who has entered and when from the code used. We have been trusted because we have always helped clean the pool area since starting at the school. I know we have done some pretty stupid stuff there, but always safely and we are always careful.
We arrive at the pool after the second afternoon lesson and Ross lets the four of us in with a hoard of year 7 kids. Everyone piles into the entry area and like the good senior boys that we now are, we instruct them to remove their shoes and go into the changing area to get ready and then come out poolside.
The four of us took off our shoes but carried them poolside and put them on a bench, we were still in white socks, which soon got damp underneath from the tiles. Jake and Aidy also took off their blazers and threw them with the shoes, to which Ross started calling them ‘soft ladz’! Jake protested, “it’s a new blazer, man!” Remember Jake and Aidy are a year younger than Ross and me, but usually just as daring now.
“Let’s have some fun” says Jake and turns the shower on over the entry from the changing rooms to poolside. Aidy replied, “man you’re tight”, but didn’t try stopping him! So, the four of us are stood there, in our new uniforms. We occasionally look at each other and smirk while waiting. I have a trick up my sleeve! I hear you say, “NO, not you Ry … you’re such an angel!”
Anyway, Mr. Swim arrives and comes poolside in his tracksuit and socks, goes to take them off and mutters something! He turns to us, “Aren’t they out yet? What are they doing!” He goes to the shower and shouts, “COME ON, WE’RE WAITING!!” Then he turns to us smiling and asks, “Who put the shower on?” Jake owns up and Mr. Swim calls him cruel!
Next thing we hear this commotion the other side of the shower. Mr. Swim looks at us smiling. A voice pipes up that I immediately recognise! “Sir, the shower is on!” Mr. Swim smiles, “Boys you need to come through the running shower, you know the rules!” Same voice answers, “Sir, we’re in clothes and going to get wet and cold” (the shower is cold water). Mr. Swim replies, “Boys we’re supposed to be doing lifesaving, not being silly around a bit of cold water. What do you think happens in the pool? Do you stay dry?!”
Into the Pool
Anyway, next thing the boys start to run through the shower. All of them are in school sports shirts with track pants and track tops. At school our PE kit consists of that with school branding, so most are wearing that. No kid came out with socks on, but I noticed several still had their boxers on because you could see the elastic waistband showing as they moved. So, they all got a little damp and there was a lot of giggling and pointing between them.
They stood along the poolside as Mr. Swim marshalled them. “Who can’t swim?” About 8 moved to the benches. “Who has already learnt lifesaving?” About 12 put hands up and were sent to stand by the deep end. The rest were told to get in the pool at the shallow end and start doing lengths up and down the taped off area. Jake was sent to watch them and walk up and down as lookout for anyone in difficulty.
Two kids jumped in and immediately got reprimanded, the others slipped in. There was a lot of giggling as they all ended up soaked to the skin! So, my younger cousin Ryan is in that group swimming too.
The first part was all about water safety, like not standing to close to the pool edge. Mr. Swim takes the non-swimmers off to the shallow end and we’re left with the ‘experts’ NOT! I went to Ryan and whispered something in his ear, you will find out what later 😊!
Then I went back to the others. Ross had got them sitting on the poolside with their legs in the water and asking them questions about lifesaving. He was actually doing a REALLY good job, so I left him to it. Aidy was watching with his hands on his hips, like he was a teacher 😊!
I drop something in the pool, something I know will float. “Ross, there’s something in the pool, come see!” He stops his lecture and walks over, looking down. He kneels to reach it, FATAL MISTAKE 😊 In he goes with a MASSIVE splash!! The kids laugh their heads off, Aidy says: “Who didn’t see that coming!” I laugh, “obviously Ross AGAIN!”
He surfaces, spluttering with his clothes floating, looking pretty shiny. He is smiling, but I can see the vengeance in his eyes. “Ry, when will you stop being a child and doing that?” “That will be the day I die, Bro!” He pulls himself to the side and sits on the edge as water drains away. “Ry, THAT can be arranged, you know!”
He stands up absolutely soaking. PE kit hanging and dripping whilst shining, skinny trousers sticking to his legs, socks now showing his toes! I could here all the kids whispering, pointing, and giggling. I knew I’d made my point there and then! Ross carried on his lecture and Aidy joined in. I went behind his class mainly because I knew Ross would push me in given the chance.
Mr. Swim came over and gave them some instructions to slide into the water. Ryan piped up, “Sir, those boys are in their casual clothes. Are we allowed to wear our clothes next time for experience of heavy weight? We might fall in fully clothed?”
Now, I could have written that speech for him. Honestly, I didn’t prime him … well not much anyway 😊! Mr. Swim looked at me: “Is this your doing?” I shrugged saying: “NO, why would it be, Sir?”
He turned back to the class, “You can wear your regular clothes, as it’s the last period on a Friday, but ONLY if you bring spare clothes and your parents AGREE! I don’t want ANY complaints, so have that conversation first!” A few giggles and comments were made between them.
Mr. Swim walked over to me, “You wait, young man, cause a riot in my lessons and watch!” I smiled at him, “Who ME? Sir, you got the wrong man!” We have that sort of a relationship now after all these years!
So, he starts: “What do you do if you see somebody floundering in the water?” With that he shoves me in the pool!! That was a shock, NEVER expected HIM to do that! He looked at me: “Now float!” So, there I am floating face down in all my clothes, floating around me.
Ross is despatched to rescue me and he did a good job until he pulled me out and then pushed me back in holding me under! He winked, “don’t get mad, just get EVEN!” I climbed out absolutely sopping and breathless but it was the BEST feeling to have just christened your brand new tracksuits, everything sticking to places I can’t describe 😊! Soooo much fun!
Anyway, Ross and me started being the ‘floating’ bodies, mostly face down, which was the problem! Swallowed LOADS of water. They had to turn us and rescue us to the side by the chin, then hauling us out soaked, funniest thing ever! Occasional swear words like, “you fat duck”, which got them thrown back in 😊.
Next thing I heard three lads ask if they could go for the toilet, which is back in the shower area. One of those lads was Ryan. Now what could possibly go wrong with mini-ME! We all carried on doing what we were doing. Mr. Swim was concentrating on the non-swimmers with his back to the shower.
Suddenly I heard ‘SPLASH’ and giggling. The three of them had only gone and changed into their full casual clothes, including socks, two white and one black pair! Before any of us could say anything they jumped straight in, going under! All three surfaced grinning widely! I looked at them as Ross came over, “what have you done that for? Now you don’t have ANY dry clothes!”
Ryan looked straight back at me, “DO YOU?” I could have shaken him right there until his teeth fell out, but he did have a point, none of us had brought spare clothes and we don’t bother! We carried on with the swimming training, hoping Mr. Swim wouldn’t notice and we kept them in the water.
At the end Mr. Swim asked them ALL to get out and sit on the side. LOADS of soaking, clinging wet tracksuits and shirts, three completely soaked hoodie and jeans. They looked a complete mess as they dripped and shone in the light.
“Just a minute! When did THAT happen?!” He looked at the three boys then us, who were just as wrecked as them. There was NO answer from ANY of them, they just looked down but were smiling! And I thought, ‘here starts Ryan mini-me mark two! Third week at school and getting soaked already. God help us when the mud arrives properly.
Now you’re ALL thinking, did Aidy and Jake get away with staying dry? So, Mr. Swim and the kids left. We stayed and cleaned the pool sides. Ryan sat outside with his naughty mates and drip dried. By now their shoes were wet from their socks and clothes dripping, brand new shoes 😊! I sneaked and locked the entry hall door. I winked at Ross.
Aidy and Jake put their anoraks on as Ross picked their shoes up! “Well Ladz, you stayed nice and dry!” They smiled at him: “Can we have our shoes?” “Go fetch”, and he flung them into the pool! “What are you doing?!” as they both ran to the side, just in time for me to push them both in! SPLASH!!
They surfaced glaring: “Didn’t wanna get my new stuff wet!” “Well Jake, don’t wash your clothes then man, just stink of BO, like you do!” By the way he doesn’t, he’s a really clean kid but doesn’t usually mind wet or muddy fun either!
We literally squished home dripping all together.
Joking between us and occasionally pouring water over someone in the group from our water bottles, we couldn’t get any wetter 😊.
The merry wrecked band of seven!
The seven ‘trashedketeers’, play on musketeers 😊!