After every shift watching over the pool in the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatic Center, freshman lifeguard Cole Strauss has to remove the bodies of swimmers who drowned during the day.
“It’s not my favorite, but retrieving the bodies of people who drowned while we watched is just something rookie guards have to do,” Strauss said after hauling the corpse of a local man to a dumpster behind his lifeguard stand. “It still beats a desk job.”
“It’s honestly just another rookie task, like lap swims and first aid training,” said Strauss. “The older guards had to do it, and now I have to. Next year, it’ll be the new freshmen filling up the body dumpster.”
“We had way more bodies when I was a freshman,” recalled lifeguard supervisor Kayla Dane ’16, who called it a learning experience. “I had to learn how to pull multiple corpses from the really deep parts and how to remove pairs who got entangled from embracing as they struggled to stay afloat.”
“We didn’t even wear gloves back then,” she added.
Pool manager Erica Colemad admitted that, although removing corpses is a large part of a new lifeguard’s job, “the most important things are checking chlorine levels and making sure no one runs by the pool. They’re crucial for a safe pool environment.”
At press time, Strauss was instructing a swim class how to execute a perfect dead man’s float.