Philly Phreeze is back! Parks and Rec looking for willing residents to jump into frigid waters for lifeguard recruitment

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Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is hosting its second annual Philly Phreeze event to raise money for recruiting lifeguards for the summer pool season.

The Philly Phreeze is looking for 500 Philadelphians willing to take a plunge into the frigid Kelly Pool on February 24.

Last year’s Philly Phreeze raised roughly $70,000 for lifeguard recruitment, allowing for all of the city’s 61 pools to open last summer amid a national lifeguard shortage.

During a news conference Wednesday, Parks and Rec Commissioner Orlando Rendon said the event will allow the city to host “tropical vacations” for residents within the city.

“Not every family can make it to the shore or can afford a private swim club every summer, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to have their oasis here too,” Rendon said. “Everyone who jumps will help raise the funds. We need to offer many tropical getaways amid the urban landscape.”

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Anthony Rendon said public pools are an “oasis” for many Philadelphians during a press conference at the John B. Kelly Pool on Jan. 24, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Water Safety Instructor Will Coleman said recruiting lifeguards ensures lives can be saved.

“Swimming is an important life skill,” Coleman said. “It is great exercise and a stress reliever, but most importantly, knowing how to swim is a safety precaution that can save your life and the lives of others.”

Water Safety Instructor Will Coleman told reporters swimming is a vital life skill, and stressed the importance of recruiting young people for the summer pool season. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Parks and Rec aims to recruit 400 lifeguards this year, an increase from the 366 who worked last year. Those interested in being a lifeguard must pass the screening, which requires candidates to swim 300 meters nonstop, tread water for two minutes, and retrieve a 10-pound brick from the bottom of the deep end.

  • January 25, 2024
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