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2015 European Lifesaving Championships and Camp Survive, Ben Witz

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In early August I went to Wales as a volunteer instructor at RLSS UK Camp Survive and Save and then competed in the European Interclub Lifesaving Championships.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is the Drowning Prevention Charity and the UK’s leading provider of water safety and drowning prevention education. Camp Survive and Save is a residential international exchange camp for young lifesavers, between 14 and 18 years old. It combines learning key lifesaving skills, with fun and cultural activates; alongside British participants there were also groups from Germany and the Czech Republic.

I was in charge of instructing the Survive and Save Bronze Beach award to the yellow group, this group had no lifesaving experience and were completing the camp as part of their gold Duke of Edinburgh award. While it was challenging to teach candidates with no lifesaving experience in the limited time we had available it was also very rewarding. They were all engaged in the awards and took so much from learning a new skill and experiencing new environments. With some challenging surf conditions throughout the week they had the opportunity to experience the power of water and learnt how important it is that to know vital rescue and self survival skills. It is safe to say they all enjoyed their week and I did too. I relish the opportunity to teach these open water awards on behalf of the society, the challenges of teaching a new group was very enjoyable and has continued to help me grow and develop my delivery style.

Teaching Survive and Save award to a group with no lifesaving skills as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award


When camp sadly came to an end it was time for me to head 30 minutes down the road to Swansea, to take part in the European Interclub Lifesaving Championships. This was my first major event as a team manager of our club, so as well as competing I was also ensuring we had all the information we required and the team knew when they needed to be where. Racing for Rawmarsh is always a pleasure; the lifesaving club has given me so much over the last few years and again to race with my friends at my second international interclub event (we competed at Rescue 2014, World Interclub Lifesaving Championships) was a great experience. The competition includes pool and surf events, we specialise more in the pool events. Having trained in the pool the day before, the competition could not have got off to a better start; in the Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC) we won a gold medal. This event involves a ‘situation’ in the pool, a team of four needs to respond to the situation appropriately and rescue the casualties in the most appropriate manner. Winning the gold was my first international lifesaving medal and a very proud moment; we narrowly missed out on a medal in the same event at Rescue 2014. The rest of the competition went well, my times were on or around my personal best and I picked up points for coming top 20 in one event. Racing at an international event is always a challenging environment, but one I relish. I have taken lots away from the competition and will go back to training with more purpose as I prepare for my next event. We are already planning our team for Rescue 2016 when the World Interclub Lifesaving Championships are taking place in Eindhoven.

Winning Team Gold in the Simulated Emergency Response Competition

Without financial assistance I am unable to attend these sorts of events, the support from the Jack Bloor Trust made a massive difference to me personally attending both of these events and I must extend my unreserved gratitude to them for their support.