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At the Kingsport Aquatic Center, there’s always a lifeguard on duty whose job is to look out for your safety, whether you’re in the pool or on the deck. As a year-round swimming facility, lifeguards are an integral part of the KAC—so let’s learn more about two of them and why they love what they do!

Isaac Johnson is a sophomore at ETSU, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in health administration. He was first certified as a lifeguard at the age of 16 after his family became part of a swim team. This got him interested in aquatics and led him to his current job at the KAC. He loves to help people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get out and exercise, especially during the current health pandemic.

“Aquatic exercise is great for everyone, no matter your age, ability or experience,” Isaac said. “There are always classes you can take, and lifeguards can help to find the perfect class for you.”

Isaac is a Head Guard who helps to supervise other lifeguards as well as performing many other duties. He has achieved several certifications during his time at the KAC, including Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor, Certified Pool Operator and Water Aerobics Instructor certification. For Isaac, it’s exciting to work in a position where there is something new every day and opportunity for growth.

“It gives you a taste of several different jobs,” Isaac said. “It gives you a bit of the healthcare aspect, for one, and you deal a lot with the general public, which gives you better people skills. Plus, you get to work at a pool all day, which is pretty fun!”

Nancy Russell is a retired nurse who recently moved to the Kingsport area. After visiting the KAC as a patron several times, she wanted to get involved. Nancy decided to take one of the KAC’s lifeguard classes about a year ago—that was when she knew that aquatics was where she belonged. According to Nancy, one of the best parts of working as a lifeguard is being part of a great team.

“The team of staff includes the lifeguards, the maintenance department, the front desk employees and our devoted management staff,” Nancy said. “They’ve all given me encouragement to handle my position and they’ve been overwhelmingly supportive.”

For Nancy, it’s not only the support of the staff that she notices at the KAC, but the patrons as well.

“The patrons appreciate us so much,” she said. “They make the Aquatic Center the place to be.”

While on-duty, the day-to-day interactions can make the job exciting and different every single shift. Helping new patrons is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job for Nancy. Just like when she worked as a nurse, Nancy is always helping people and making sure everyone stays safe, while still having fun.

The KAC is open and operating year-round and is always looking for new lifeguards. They offer competitive pay and a fun, flexible working environment with plenty of room to grow. The lifeguard team has also implemented extra precautions to keep both guards and swimmers safe during this time. If you’d like to be part of a team that works together to save lives, please visit call 423-343-9758 for more information.