Aquatics Case Studies

Lifeguards need to be ready to identify and respond to an incident quickly. That’s why frequent and scenario-based in-service training is absolutely critical. Case studies are a great tool to use during your in-service trainings. They provide a tangible way to communicate and explore what incidents look like in the real world—at facilities just like yours.

Download the case studies below and then use the discussion questions to facilitate a conversation with your staff.

Case Studies 

  • Non-Swimmer: Tyler, a three-year-old non-swimmer attends a local pool with his friends and family for Fourth of July. He goes in the shallow-water to swim and play by himself.
  • Non-Swimmer: Travis, a five-year-old non-swimmer attends a week-long summer camp for the second time that summer. For morning programming, he attends open swim time.
  • Medical Event: John, a 69-year-old who established a membership at the pool a month earlier, attends open swim one evening. He is the only swimmer in the water.
  • Shallow Water Blackout: Dave, a 20-year-old Navy sailor attends open swim at a facility he was a former employee at. He attends open swim to work out and perform breath holding exercises in the pool.


Discussion Questions 

  • Could an incident like this happen here? Why/why not?
  • What went well in this case study?
  • What factor(s) contributed to the incident in the case study?
  • There are five attributes to a professional lifeguard: Rescue-Ready, Properly Positioned, Singularly-Focused, Aggressively Scanning and Empowered to Protect. Which examples of these attributes can be found in this case study, and which are missing or could be improved?
  • What strategies can you use if you are ever facing a situation like this one?
  • How can we all work together to make sure that our swimmers are safe in our water?