BND Magazine

July 13, 2014

Splash City lifeguard: How cool is that?

Jacob Wallace has the quintessential summer job: He's a lifeguard.

He recently got promoted to head lifeguard at Splash City Family Water Park in Collinsville.

"My friends think it's very cool that I get to work at a water park everyday," said Jacob, 20, of Collinsville. "The hours are awesome. The fact that I get to work outside is awesome, and I get a nice tan while I'm working."

About that time, two boys ran behind Jacob on deck.

"Walk, please, walk!" he said. "No running allowed."

Those words come out of his mouth 20 times a day. It's become second nature.

Jacob started working at Splash City last summer. It was his first job ever.

"I never had time for a job," he said. "I was too busy with sports (football, baseball and track)."

Jacob is an English major at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. He hopes to be an English teacher someday.

That career decision was reinforced last year at Splash City. Jacob enjoyed interacting with the kids.

"I taught swim lessons, and I loved it," he said. "It was so rewarding. I loved seeing (students) later in the summer. They'd give me high fives and say, 'I can do this now' or 'I can do that now.' I just liked seeing them be successful."

As head lifeguard, Jacob wears khaki shorts and polo shirts instead of T-shirts and swim trunks. He completes the "uniform" with flip-flops and Ray-Bans.

But Jacob still patrols the deck and is ready to jump in the pool at any time if someone needs help.

"I don't know how many saves I've made," he said. "I made one in the Oasis Pool. That's our lap pool. A guy was 'actively drowning.' He wasn't passed out or anything. He head was bobbing, and he was just splashing around. He was awake."

Jacob wears a fanny pack with a resuscitation mask and carries a walkie-talkie with an earpiece.

"A friend of mine came in the other day, and he said, 'You look so official right now. You look like an FBI agent,'" he said.

Lifeguards are trained in CPR and other life-saving techniques, and Jacob takes the responsibility very seriously.

"I stay away from the flirting with pretty girls," he said. "I try to keep that out of the workplace."

Jacob can think of only one negative aspect of the job. Working all day in 100-degree heat can be a little draining.

"It gets pretty hot, but luckily we have an awesome break room that is kept very cool," he said. "And we have an awesome first-aid guy who will give you ice packs."

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