Cara Gordon, aquatics coordinator for the CRPA, said she was pleased with the finish in Greensboro.
“We are very pleased with that outcome,” Gordon said. “The two teams that placed in front of us are teams that have been doing this event for a very long time and have both won it previously, so it is kind of a big deal for a first-year team like us to place as high as we did.”
Gwinnett County won the event, while a team from Cobb County placed second. Cobb had a second team entered in the event that the Cherokee squad beat.
Gordon said the lifeguards took particular pride in this accomplishment.
“It was really awesome,” she said.
Teams consisted of between four and six members, with at least one female lifeguard. In many of the events, only four members of the team participated.
The six lifeguards who represented Cherokee County were Kelsey Achin, Tony Bradway, Tad Ellsworth, Brooke McMahan, Austin Satterfield and Chas Pierce. All are between the ages of 16 and 20 and are employed as lifeguards at the new Cherokee County Aquatic Center in Holly Springs.
The Georgia Recreation and Park Association’s state competition was held at Old Salem Park on Lake Oconee. Because it was held at a beach instead of a pool, it tested the Cherokee lifeguards in skills they hadn’t been trained in.
“It is completely different (in a lake),” Gordon said. “It’s a completely different certification through the Red Cross to be able to guard on a lake, so we were being tested on skills we had never practiced, nor were we certified in. We excelled in quite a few without having the ability to practice.”
Lifeguards competed in a swim relay, a capture the flag competition, a rescue board relay, a written exam, a team triathlon, a CPR scenario and a rescue relay. Awards were presented at the end of the event.
Gordon said Cherokee County plans to up the ante up next summer and send two teams. She said the staff of approximately 50 lifeguards will have to try out to make one of the two teams.
“We plan to send two teams and have tryouts in the future, since we know what we are up against, and we didn’t really this year,” Gordon said. “But it will be an annual thing.”