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Joe Chirico

Un-named group at an un-known site.† Faces have been altered to protect the public.



U.S. Age group coaches who make up the majority of our coaches will be effected by these new changes. †This year, coaches who renew their safety certification will be required to don a Speedo and go in the water to learn deepwater rescue and spinal injury management.† Having just taken the safety certification course, I can tell you itís not a pretty picture because coaches and Speedos donít always mix!† Not only are bell-bottoms back in style apparently nylon suit are back too.† (Several colleagues assured me that their Mike Peppe suits fit the last time they had them on.)

Our group got off to a slow start because most of the coaches were reluctant to leave the hot tub.† Once we got in the water we took the pre-test treading water for two minutes without using hands.† This was easy until our instructor moved us to the deep end.† Next we had to swim down twelve feet and back up.† My first thought was what happened if I failed no one was yet certified to perform a deep-water rescue?† Luckily, everyone in my group breached the surface with ease.† Had Captain Ahab arrived on the scene his quest for the White Whale would have ended, many times over.

Once we were found fit to take the rest of the water portion of the course, we received a lot of worthwhile information.† We learned valuable information regarding use of the backboard.† I think every coach should go through these exercises several times until they feel comfortable.† With this new addition to the Safety Certification Course, it is clear that all coaches will be better prepared to respond to an emergency situation.††††††††††

The revised course with the water component lasted the same amount of time seven hours as the original course.†

John Bransfield, instructs our group at U. Conn.

Having a practical curriculum, in addition to classroom time, makes the time pass much more quickly.

The class room component used a lot of overheads and contained a great deal of information.† We needed the full two hours to cover the material.† Our experience made it clear that there is much to be covered and the class could not afford to get sidetracked, if we wanted to pass to written test.†

The new exam was better written than the first edition of the original test.† There were a few questions that were ambiguous, but having written an exam this summer, I know how hard it can be to construct well-written questions.

The best part of the exam was knowing the result before I left.† I hope that we do not loose too many age group coaches due to the time and cost it takes to become certified, and thus insured through U.S. Diving.† We have to worker a little longer and harder so we can give out time away. Most of our coaches are givers.† Now we are asked to give a little more. I strongly believe that the new safety certification is a great improvement over the past course. I encourage all my colleagues to take this course (regardless of what they look like in a Speedo).



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