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Beating the lifeguard brick test

Posted January 2, 2014

Making the decision to become a lifeguard may pose several challenges. One of these challenges is passing the required lifeguard training and the lifeguard brick test. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to start the training process by registering, researching the types of training required and practicing your swimming skills.

Signing Up:
In order to start the certification process, you have to signup. Many lifeguard companies offer online registration, but you can also reserve a spot over the phone. This part is easy and not stressful at all! Just provide your information, make sure you understand the costs and you will be ready to begin training. Some companies offer discounted training to employees. When choosing a class, be sure you feel confident in your swimming abilities before signing up for your physical training.

Training:
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what training you actually need in order to sit atop the lifeguard chair. There are many different types of courses available, so the choices can be daunting. Take some time to review the training classes available at your company. Don’t be afraid to contact someone at to ask training-related questions – remember that training requirements may differ based on your location and job requirements.

A new lifeguard usually needs the following:

  • Lifeguard Training Prerequisite (if required)
  • Lifeguard Training Course (this might also include an online portion)
  • CPR/AED for Lifeguards
  • OSHA Training (only if you’re handling chemicals)
  • Bloodbourne Pathogens training

The Lifeguard Brick Test:
In addition to your classroom training, which covers everything from CPR to respecting your patrons, a lifeguard training course may have a required prerequisite test. During this test, you will be required to continuously swim 300 yards, either front crawl or breast stroke. You are also required to tread water for two minutes without the use of your hands. Don’t worry; this isn’t as terrifying as it sounds. Just practice!

Once you’ve’ve demonstrated you can swim, you will be required to complete the lifeguard brick test. This can be tricky.

Here’s what you have to do:
You have 1 minute and 40 seconds to complete the following:

  • Swim 20 yards (without goggles) and locate the brick submerged 7-10 feet deep in the pool.
  • Surface dive (from the water) either feet or head first and retrieve the brick.
  • Swim with the brick back to your starting location holding it throughout the swim. The brick cannot be submerged, and two hands must be holding the brick throughout the swim.
  • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

Now here is how I beat the lifeguard brick test:

  1. When you locate the brick, keep it a bit in front of you so that when you dive down, you will land right on it.
  2. Dive down headfirst. It will get you there faster.
  3. Once you pick up the brick, push hard with your feet to propel yourself upward. Then, flutter kick until you reach the surface.
  4. Next, rest the brick on the upper part of your chest right under your chin and get into the back float position.
  5. With both hands holding the brick, begin to kick.
  6. Many people decide to frog kick (the kick used in breaststroke) because it is more powerful, but whichever kick you are more comfortable with will work.
  7. Now, just kick until you reach the wall. Once you are there, place one hand on the wall and use the other to set the brick down.
  8. Push yourself up onto the side of the pool, and you are done!

These steps are key to beating the lifeguard brick test. Just remember to practice, and your start to a lifeguarding career will be a definite success!