In October 2022, Mike Olsen and Bruce McNicoll nervously started their first day as lifeguards at Nepean Sportsplex after being retired for years.
Mike is 80 years old, and the Lifesaving Society recently confirmed that he is the oldest lifeguard in Ontario, and probably even Canada! His experience is full of achievements working the beaches in Australia as a waterfront lifeguard.
Bruce, a retired middle school teacher, recertified his lifeguarding qualification and returned to the pool deck. Bruce was a national level triathlete and began his lifeguarding experience back in the late 1970s with the City of Ottawa.
“It was daunting to go back to recertify as a lifeguard,” Bruce said. “I was apprehensive, but the City arranged an opportunity where adults could recertify with their peers. That made it a lot easier, and it made me quickly realize that age should not be a barrier.”
The process to become a lifeguard with the City of Ottawa may seem long, but it is rewarding and necessary, now more than ever. The City works hard to keep aquatic programs running at full capacity and as a result is always in need of lifeguards. If you or someone you know has been thinking about starting the process, now is the time!
“Not only does lifeguarding contribute to an active lifestyle, but it also teaches skills like dealing with the public and handling stressful situations,” Mike said.
“Lifeguarding is a great job because you make a difference in the lives of others every single day. It could be as crucial as saving a life or treating an injury, or it could be as simple as allowing people access to a pool that benefits their physical and mental health. I want everyone to leave the pool happier than when they arrived,” Bruce said.
“Lifeguarding can also take you places! One of our supervisors recently obtained a great job working for Ottawa Public Health, and lifeguards can move on to other careers within the City of Ottawa,” said Mike.
Bruce and Mike have never not enjoyed a day at work and want others to know how rewarding it is to be a lifeguard. It’s a job that consistently motivates you to improve your skills, knowledge and fitness to better serve Ottawa residents, all while working with a supportive and encouraging team.
Visit ottawa.ca today to read about the path to becoming a lifeguard and swim instructor, and maybe you’ll meet Bruce or Mike along the way!