Robyn Caire tells the life of a Loyola lifeguard


Shadera Moore

Business senior Robyn Caire watches over the pool from her lifeguard chair in the University Sports Complex.

Shadera Moore

The first thing that hits you upon entering the West Road Garage is the scent of chlorine wafting in way up from the fifth floor.

But according to Robyn Caire, “a lot of people don’t actually know that (Loyola) has a pool,” much less know about the students that protect its swimmers.

Caire, a business senior, is one of the head lifeguards at the University Sports Complex, and even though she spends most of her time above the waves, swimming has always been a part of her.

She said, “ I swam for twelve years, and when I joined a year-round swim team, the only job that would work out with my schedule was lifeguarding. So, anytime you see a lifeguard, usually, they’ve swum before, or it’s the only job you can get when you’re fifteen years old.”

A large part of the shift is spent watching swimmers practice from the stand, but lifeguarding also entails odd jobs such as adding chemicals to the water, cleaning the tile floor, vacuuming the pool and logging the number of visitors in a Google sheet.

“But sometimes you’ll get a little surprise, like a birthday party, and you weren’t expecting to have that many people in the party,” she said. “Or, it’ll just be a rush usually the day after Thanksgiving a lot of people show up, and after New Year’s a lot of people show up.”

And to deal with both the handful of swimmers and the large groups, lifeguards must continually renew their certifications to stay employed.

“(The certification program) is usually a week, and the whole week, you’ll watch videos, you’ll practice your skills, and eventually, at the end, you take the test,” Caire said. “But recently, when I got re-certified in the summer, it was a three-day course and they just went over everything.”

A lifeguard now of six years, Caire enjoys the bonds she has with the familiar faces and sees them as the most rewarding aspect of her job.

She said, “We have two patrons that come, like, every single day, and if they are not here, they’re sick. And when they come back, they’ll tell us about it. We’ll be worried. We didn’t get to see (them). We get concerned.”

On the side, Caire gives swim advice and lessons but after she graduates, she looks to step away from the water to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer

She hopes to study law at Loyola or Tulane this fall after passing her LSAT.