Lifeguards at the Olympic Pool? Yep, Even Michael Phelps Needs to Be Rescued

6635 People Viewed - about 27 months ago Sports

At the Olympic swimming pool, the world's best swimmers are never more than a few strokes from the pool wall and always within reach of a buoyant lane marker. They are constantly watched by countless coaches and assistants.

Also watching? Lifeguards.

The Olympic swimming pool has lifeguards, just in case someone like Michael Phelps, winner of 18 gold medals, needs to be rescued while working on his butterfly.

"I'm dreaming of that possibility," Anderson Fertes, a 39-year-old health-club lifeguard from Rio, said with a smile before starting his pool deck shift at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. "I think about that."

The odds are small. "It's a one-in-a-million type of event, but we're prepared," Fertes said.

The lifeguards at the Rio Games have perhaps the best view in the house, as they are among the few people permitted on the pool deck. But they might not feel particularly useful.

It's actually a law in Rio de Janeiro to have lifeguards present at swimming pools larger than 20 by 20 feet, according to the publication.

So, 75 lifeguards will be on site to monitor the various facilities for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and white-water kayaking.

The officials will be sporting neon-yellow shirts, whistles and, of course, floaties.

Martelote stayed close to Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and kept a sharp focus on them.

"We joked to each other, 'We're here to save him!'" she said. "But we hope and expect that all the athletes will be fine."

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