Littlehampton lifesavers see lockdown as just another challenge

Littlehampton Wave Life Saving Club had restarted at The Wave pool after the long lockdown and the two interrupted classes resumed in August – members getting stuck into new challenges.
Lifesaving club members with some of their new kitLifesaving club members with some of their new kit
Lifesaving club members with some of their new kit

Then, of course, they were thwarted again, by the November lockdown.

Olivia Kidd, 14, was particularly put out as she’d been working hard to improve her swimming to get inside the tough timed swims for RLSS exams.

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So she decided to maintain and improve her fitness as well as raising funds for the club and encourage others to join her in running the equivalent of swimming the English Channel – 21 miles.

She completed this on November 30 and raised £352.

The club only started in September 2019 and had made great progress with Royal Life Saving Society examination passes, so the closedown in March was a great disappointment.

When it become possible to use open water sites in July some members took the chance to work with Horsham Life Saving Club, training and being examined for the RLSS Stillwater and beach life saving awards.

Stillwater was undertaken at Southwater Lakeuntil the first week in September and, through August, the beach work was at Lancing and in Shoreham Harbour.

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Sophia Hendey and Jude Morris passed their bronze and silver medallion exams in stillwater and beach life saving while Jack and Bella Lee each passed their bronze stillwater and beach awards.

Once back at The Wave a quick ‘refresher’ was all that was needed to complete some exam parts postponed in lockdown and in accordance with safety criteria laid down by the RLSS and The Wave, adaptions were necessary to how things were done.

Maddi Hills, Jack and Bella Lee all completed their bronze medallions. Harry Stockley, Sophia Hendey, Jude Morris and Olivia Kidd completed their silver medallion while the last three also completed a tough bronze life saving ‘sport’ exam.

Club chairman and chief instructor David Slade said: “he young members have exceeded expectations in what they achieved at the pool before and since we’ve been back, especially those who were able to undertake the open water work. The need to better understand how to stay safe in and around water is more relevant in open water than in supervised swimming pools so that work at the lake and the coast was extremely important, realistic and rewarding.”

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Training at the pool is limited during coronavirus partly because numbers are restricted. But a start has been made and more is planned after Christmas.

Anyone wishing to join can pick up an application form at The Wave reception or go to the club’s website or e-mail [email protected] to go on the waiting list.