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Valley Leisure Centre crowned Northern Ireland’s Top Team!

10 August 2018

Lifeguards from Valley Leisure Centre were crowned Northern Ireland’s top lifeguarding team last night at Olympia Leisure Centre. Valley Leisure Centre won the Top Team Lifeguarding competition hosted by social enterprise GLL, in partnership with Belfast City Council. The competition involved lifeguards from council areas across Northern Ireland pitching themselves against each other in a battle of lifeguarding skills, strength and knowledge.

The highly interactive competition took place at Olympia Leisure Centre on Belfast’s Boucher Road and saw twelve teams test their skills, both in and out of the pool. Belfast lifeguard teams from Shankill, Whiterock, Olympia, Falls and Grove leisure centres competed against teams from Banbridge, Lurgan, Antrim, Newtownabbey and Lagan Valley. The teams were scored by two independent lifeguarding trainers from the UK.

GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk commented at the event: “It goes without saying that lifeguarding is one of the most vital services we provide in our leisure centres. As a social enterprise we invest heavily in making sure our lifeguards are continually tested and improving their knowledge and skills. The Top Team event is a great way of doing that and by introducing a competitive element to it, means our teams get fired up for a bit of a friendly challenge and it makes it more fun for everyone involved. This is the second time we have run the competition and because the feedback was so good last year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of teams looking to compete this year. It’s a pleasure to host teams from outside of the Belfast council area and the rivalry is always good humoured. We hope to grow this again in the coming years.”

Each team was made up of four members who competed in scenarios designed to test their skills at dealing with a number of incidents including simulated CPR, first aid management and in-water rescue. These were set in both a dry environment and in the pool area.  Lifeguards were then scored on the speed in which they reacted to the scenarios and the protocols they followed in their responses.

Dean Beattie from the winning team said: “We are thrilled to have won the Top Team Championship this year. Being a lifeguard is a privilege and we take our lifeguarding skills seriously. We came for a bit of fun and to challenge ourselves but didn’t really think for one minute we would win. Getting to know lifeguards from other teams and compare our skills and abilities has been great fun and we look forward to defending our title again next year!”

The top three teams at the end of event were as follows:
First Place: Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)
Second Place: Shankill Leisure Centre, Belfast (Belfast City Council)
Third Place: Waves Leisure Centre, Lurgan (Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council) 


The Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Deirdre Hargey presents the lifeguarding team from Valley Leisure Centre with their Top Team Award,. L-R: Piotr Kopowski, Olivia Armstrong, the Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Deirde Hargey, Dean Beattie and Mark Wylie.