Since this was what we were wearing anyway, we packed our phones and wallets away and put on clean canvas shoes. Looking good in our casual clothes we were really excited.
Two lifeguards, dressed in red jogging pants and yellow hoodies, welcomed us six newbies on poolside.
They told us about the sports and adventures the centre offered
and that they needed people who could provide lifeguard cover for these activities.
We asked why we were told to come to the pool hall fully clothed. They said the job description included getting into the water a few times a day, either outdoors or in the pool. For the adventure activities the visitors dress in warm clothes, and we would have to be prepared for this. Hence our swimming test was to be done fully clothed, shoes and all. The test asessed how well we could swim in clothes and rescue someone who is also fully clothed.
We were required to get fully involved in the activities, not just stand on the side, but always be near the guests, ready to assist with various indoor or outdoor activities on land and in the water. We had to be dressed in similar clothes as the guests we accompanied on their wet adventures. We should also make sure all wet kit was rinsed in the showers or with the hose pipe. Then we were to put it all into the drying room.
During canoeing lessons last year I got soaking wet in the sea,
but swimming with clothes in a pool as part of a job interview was a new experience for me.
We could barely wait to be sent into the shower to get our comfy clothes wet before the Water Test.
We had a very simple, but flexible time table for each day:
0600-0700 Morning Swim
0700-0800 Healthy breakfast at poolside restaurant
0800-0900 Rest and getting dressed
0900-1300 Morning Session
1300-1400 Lunch at poolside restaurant or outdoors
1400-1500 Rest and getting dressed
1500-1800 Afternoon Session
1800-1900 Dinner at poolside restaurant
1900-2200 Pool Party
2200-0600 Bed Time Fun
This adventure centre had a long reputation for wild pool parties and funny rituals as part of their social programme.
We were expected to provide safety cover on and in the pool, but also be part of the entertainment. Dunkings by the guests should be expected. If they wanted us in the pool, we were to be game for a laugh and go into the water in whatever clothes we had on.
Many new guests may not have been to a pool party before.
Often they just stand around the poolside, not sure what to do.
If that happens we team leaders should playfully get our clothes wet or go into the pool,
making it clear to the guests that it was fine to jump in dressed as they are.
For any pool games we should also act as ice breaker, being the first to play if necessary.
We were reminded to always take a shower before entering the pool, either in our rooms before we got dressed or on poolside. It was an odd feeling as we walked into the shower room still wearing all our clothes. I got so excited as we stepped under the showers to deliberately get our clothes wet.
It was nice to see the water flow into our sweatshirts and jeans. We splashed each other until we were completely soaked. My friends looked great in their wet clothes and seemed to enjoy it a lot.
Andy and James decided to practice together. I was asked to swim with Giovanni, a handsome Italian guy who had also applied for a lifeguard job.
We were told to swim 16 lengths fully clothed, 4 lengths in each swimming stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke, and front crawl.
We jumped off the diving boards and swam the lengths to warm up. It was exhausting but great fun to swim in clothes.
Then we learned the basic skills how to rescue someone. We practiced several rescue skills, tow someone for 50 meters, including the "clothes tow". You grab hold of the casualty's clothes on their back, just below their arms, so the the clothes form a ring around them which you can tow.
Giovanni said he liked hooded garments as he put his hood up. I told him that I love swimming in my hoodie or anoraks and walking in the rain in a poncho.
His face lit up: "Poncho? Did you say poncho? Man, ponchos are so hot.
I brought a few along which I'll show you later."
Next they asked us to put on those waterproof suits that everybody wears over their clothes during most outdoor activities. We went over to the drying room. Anyone who didn't have their own kit, could choose between one piece coveralls or cagoules and pants. It wasn't easy, but great fun putting the waterproofs on over our heavy wet clothes.
We then swam 250 meters (10 lengths) in the pool with all this kit on. That was even more exhausting but an interesting experience. Water collects in the sleeves and pockets. Climbing out of the water was really heavy, but this was what we should learn and practice often.
We were asked to keep all clothes on for the whole time, including the waterproofs, so they can see how long it takes us to get exhausted. Climbing into inflatable boats was quite a challenge with all these waterlogged clothes.
Giovanni seemed to enjoy throwing water over me or pushing me out of the boat. I managed to keep his clothes soaked as well by making him swim a few times. His blue jeans and hoodie could be seen through his wet white nylon suit.
We played around for a while, just to relax and have some fun. However, the main purpose was to get used to wearing all these clothes in the water.
The management told us that they liked our enthusiasm and we were welcome to join their team. Whoopee! Another wet summer!
Finally we took a shower to rinse the chlorine out of all our clothes and hung them all up in the drying room.
It was really hot in there.
We waited naked for our uniforms.
Joey came in after a while and issued each of us with three sets comfy staff uniforms.
I asked why we were issued three sets of clothes while I put on shorts and polo shirt. Joey explained: "One to wear, one to dry and one spare. If you need more go to the drying room. You should wear these for all outdoor and indoor activities, including pool events."
"You mean even in the pool?" I asked.
"Of course," he replied, "you should always be visible as team leader by your group. Try all uniform clothes in the pool this afternoon so you're familiar with it before the course starts."
"I'll make sure we do." Giovanni said with a big grin.
We picked our luggage from the poolside
and were shown to our staff rooms which had large double beds,
and a bath with shower unit much to our delight.