Banbridge lifeguards take Top Team title

Gareth Kirk, GLL Regional Director, and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nuala McAllister present the Top Team trophy to Banbridge Leisure Centre lifeguards Mark Judge, Sophie Rimmer, Zoe Dennison and John McGreevy. Pic by Paul Moane
Gareth Kirk, GLL Regional Director, and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nuala McAllister present the Top Team trophy to Banbridge Leisure Centre lifeguards Mark Judge, Sophie Rimmer, Zoe Dennison and John McGreevy. Pic by Paul Moane

The lifeguarding team at Banbridge Leisure Centre are celebrating success in the inaugural Northern Ireland Top Team Lifeguard Championship.

Hosted by GLL and organised in partnership with Belfast City Council, the highly interactive competition took place at the new Olympia Leisure Centre on Belfast’s Boucher Road and saw nine teams of professional lifeguards test their lifeguarding skills, both in and out of the pool.

For the first time, Belfast-based lifeguard teams from Shankill, Whiterock, Olympia, Falls and Grove leisure centres competed against teams from Banbridge, Craigavon, Newry and Omagh.

Each team consisted 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. Lifeguards were then scored on the speed at which they reacted to the scenarios and the protocols they followed in their responses.

The team from Banbridge Leisure Centre - Zoe Dennison, Mark Judge, Sophie Rimmer and John McGreevy - took first place overall, ahead of the teams from Grove Wellbeing and Leisure Centre (second) and Olympia Leisure Centre (third).

A delighted Zoe Dennison, captain of the Banbridge team, was thrilled to win, saying: “We’d never even thought we were good enough to win a top prize at an event like this. We’ve had such a great day getting to know other lifeguards from across Northern Ireland and have learned so much.”

GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk commented: “Lifeguarding is one of the most important services we provide in leisure centres. We take the training and development of these professional team members very seriously and were delighted to be joined by other council lifeguard teams from across Northern Ireland. This the first time we have brought lifeguards from across the country together and plan to grow the competition in the coming years.”