By Melissa Locke
Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series detailing a typical day in the life of a Union student or employee.
Kaitlyn Pindak, sophomore music education major, feels called to save lives through lifeguarding at Union University’s indoor pool.
She arrives at 6 a.m. on Mondays, ready to rescue anyone drowning.
While keeping watch, Pindak spends those peaceful early mornings reflecting on past conversations, doing homework and memorizing Scripture.
These things allow her to focus her thoughts instead of allowing them to drift as she surveys swimmers in the pool.
While living in Colorado, Pindak’s skills saved a little girl’s life.
“I looked right at her when she went under, and she had this terrified look on her face and I could see in her eyes that she knew she was struggling,” Pindak recalled. “So I jumped in and saved her.”
She earned her lifeguarding qualifications in 2011, but her training did not end there.
“You want to make sure [your qualifications] are still fresh,” Pindak said. “You don’t want to lose or become fuzzy on how to save people’s lives.”
Pindak was required to learn how to use an automated external defibrillator, which helps a person’s heart to resume a steady rhythm, had to become CPR-certified and learned how to operate a face shield — a device that does the equivalent of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without direct contact — if someone she is helping is not breathing.
“You are also trained to keep [a person] calm and talk them through it,” Pindak said.
Lifeguarding is not as simple as it looks.
“Lifeguarding is not a baby-sitting job,” Pindak said. “Some parents go and drop off their kids. Our job would be a lot easier if parents were there to say to their kids, ‘Don’t do that.’…
“It’s really frustrating when people don’t listen to instructions, when they are messing around and making you feel like they are going to drown and [swimmers] don’t show you any respect. [Some swimmers] just kind of treat you like you are stopping them from having fun.”
Blake Pennington, wellness services director, said Pindak shines at her job.
“Kaitlyn was hired to work in wellness services because of her strong personal skills and high work ethic,” he said. “She is on time for her shifts, exemplifies great customer service and excels in her job duties, which are all things we expect of our student workers.”