Windsor hosting Canadian Pool Lifesaving Championships this weekend
Windsor will welcome the top lifeguards from Canada and the US this weekend, when the city plays host to the Canadian Pool Lifesaving Championships.
It's the first time the event will be in Windsor, last year the event took place in Fort McMurray, Alberta and prior to the pandemic in 2019 they were held in Markham, Ontario.
The championships are being held at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre on June 10 and 11.
The Canadian Pool Lifesaving Championships is a national competition, and lifesaving sport is the only sport whose skills are first learned for humanitarian purposes.
The Lifesaving Society is the Canadian governing body for lifesaving sport - a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Aidan Miess, Project Manager of Lifesaving Sport with the Lifesaving Society of Ontario, says the sport was developed as a way for lifeguards to enhance their skills.
"And since then has grown globally into something that athletes pride themselves on as a true sport. So we'll have 175 of the top athletes from Canada, and a few from the US, between the ages of 15 and 75 years old. So people really see this as a life long passion," he said.
Miess says it's a huge benefit to the athletes that take part, and just the general awareness of drowning prevention as we enter into the summer.
"It's really important for people to know that lifeguards take their jobs seriously, and they take drowning prevention very seriously," he continued. "But it's also a weekend full of fun and excitement, with teams cheering each other on with individual and relay events alike."
Earlier this month, the provincial government announced it would be lowering the minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard, assistant lifeguard and aquatic instructor from 16 to 15 years of age to help communities address staffing shortages and make sure pools and waterfronts across Ontario could be safely enjoyed.
Miess says they have found sport to be a catalyst for volunteer involvement for a very long time, and the event does help raise awareness around the need for lifeguards.
"A lot of people in our office, and if our volunteer group, started in sport myself included. It certainly a way to show people that lifeguarding can be super fun, have many different facets to it, and open up different opportunities."
Events will run between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Miess says admittance is free and open to people of all ages.
The Canadian National team will be determined at this competition, and those selected will compete in the RLSS Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships taking place from September 15 to 17, also in Windsor.