Lifesaving Sport

The Royal Life Saving Society UK is the National Governing Body for pool-based Lifesaving Sport - a sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation. Lifesaving Sport is the only sport whose skills are first learned for humanitarian purposes.

As showcased in our new promotional video, Lifesaving Sport is a competitive and dynamic international sport, with a variety of fun and challenging activities that take place in and out of the water at swimming pools and the beach. It is also an important vehicle to engage young people in lifesaving and support drowning prevention. 

Coach at Crawley Town LSC

Gary Lee is a level 2 qualified lifesaving coach at Crawley Town LSC who has a wealth of experience, having been coaching at club level for 46 years, and nationally for over 33 years! His athletes have gone on to successfully compete in National and International events including the ILS World Championships, RLSS Commonwealths and ILSF Europeans – not to mention many of RLSS UK’s National and Speeds events.

Gary’s own journey into Lifesaving Sport began at Crawley Swimming Club where there is an interesting history of lifesaving. Their skill-based lifesaving squad formed in 1968 but were only granted 30 minutes training time a week between due to limited pool availability. As the local council would not grant additional time, in 1972 the lifesaving squad supported by the swimming club and with the blessing of the local Ilfield Sub-Aqua formed a new club that could be granted a more preferential weekday evening time – and the Crawley Town Lifesaving went from strength to strength.

Gary says,

“My sincere and long belief is that all water-related clubs should encourage their members to hold a current lifesaving qualification and now with the development of lifesaving sport in accordance with ILS rules, competitive swimming club coaches should be aware of the potential benefits (stream lining and breath control in particular) of running a sport lifesaving session at least once a week at their clubs. This awareness may also help overcome the challenges that arise when major swimming and lifesaving events clash.”

Gary has enjoyed a fair share of success himself and his favourite pool-based events to compete in have been the 50m carry, 12.5m line throw and SERC. He describes the best thing about being involved with lifesaving sport as “enjoyment, fulfilment and friendships”.

Gary now trains lifesavers from around 11 years old until the time they wish to retire, whether they are just learning the ropes or elite-level athletes.

“As I have always been an amateur coach, I am happy to coach at all levels providing that those I train enjoy and gain benefit from the sessions.”

His sessions are tailor-made to suit the attendees’ goals and abilities together with the attendees’ personal programmes but enjoyment remains the number 1 goal. Gary’s top tip for competitors is to simply “enjoy what you do, and do it to the best of your ability”

“Lifesaving is a balanced sport that welcomes everyone who wants to get involved. Not only is it great fun, but the skills acquired provide long-lasting benefit to both family and the general community”