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"I never compete against the competition. The only one I compete against in myself, because one day I will beat the competition and then who will I compete against." -- Billie Akauola

Sporting Challenge

Lifesaving Sport is unique in that participants first learn the skills for a humanitarian purpose and only later use them in competition. It is designed to increase your competencies with a focus on the techniques and tactics required for your success in the various competitive lifesaving sport events.

In all the excitement, we should remember that competitive behaviour doesn't always bring out the best in people. There is this "Them vs Us" attitude, combined with big ego. With only one winner, the majority of participants may be somewhat demotivated or frustrated.

Furthermore, the strict competition rules and regulations limit the amount of improvisation possible. Yet being prepared for the unexpected is our business. In a real life rescue situation we may not have swimsuit and flippers to hand, and the casualty will certainly not behave just like the manikin.

Powerful Incentive

Lifesaving competitions can be a powerful training incentive and good showcase for the abilities and professionalism of your lifeguard team. They test a your team's skills in rescue, accident prevention and emergency care.

Unlike other sports, the purpose of competitions is to improve lifesaving skills to keep your pools and beaches safe. This is even more important when teams work together.

Beach lifesavers are also encouraged to refine their swimming skills in the pool and participate in pool rescue competitions, which are specifically designed to hone a surf lifesaver’s knowledge and skills that they would use in an everyday patrol situation.

Competition or Cooperation

We recommend you organise your competitions in a way that cooperation and improvisation are rewarded. Casualty care should be rated higher than split second timings.

The laws of physics suggest that taller swimmers are likely to be faster than similarly capable shorter swimmers. When organising competitions, it would therefore be prudent to match competitive swimmers by size rather than age, just as boxers are matched by weight. This applies especially in the under 18 age groups.

Variety of Disciplines

There are many disciplines to cater for everyone’s interest, from swimming events to board or ski paddling. Being active is part of a healthy way of life. The Free Lifesaving Society encourages teams and swimmers to be more active, to do more and to be more.

Dress Code: ILS Policy on Swimwear

Following the release of the 2009 ILS competition manual, the ILS passed a policy on 21st April 2010 regarding approved swim suits at sanctioned events. The purpose is avoid unfair competiton through the use of high tech speed suits.

We agree with this policy as high tech suits are unlikely to be available in real rescue situations. Even swimwear is usually not to hand during most rescues.

Casual clothes or jogging suits are more realistic outfits on which to standardise competitions. Make sure that all competitors wear similar kit. Before the event announce a realistic kit list of simple clothes.

Other protective clothing may be worn by individual competitors in both individual and team events unless otherwise prescribed by any rules or the event organisers.

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