ROCHELLE — The Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District recently recognized three senior lifeguards from Rochelle Township High School who have worked with Spring Lake Pool and have been involved with the Rochelle Rays summer swim program for the last several years.
Cara Forsberg spent many summers competing with the Rochelle Rays, and she decided to take up lifeguarding after her freshman year at RTHS. She said that lifeguarding taught her important skills such as staying calm under pressure and learning how to multitask. Forsberg said she will be attending Wheaton College and majoring in elementary education.
“I loved getting to know people in the community,” Forsberg said. “A lot of the kids come to the pool every day and becoming close with them and their families throughout the summer was a cool experience. I’ll really miss the community and the camaraderie the staff had. Even during summers when I only lifeguarded part-time, I always felt the family atmosphere in the break room and during our dinners together. It’s been an awesome group to be a part of.”
“Cara’s leadership and experience was greatly appreciated,” aquatics director Marianne Swanson said. “Cara’s also a gifted swimmer and she still holds backstroke records for the Rochelle Rays. Cara was always ready and willing to step up when she was needed.”
Tucker Louis also started lifeguarding after his freshman year at RTHS, and he spent seven years with the Rochelle Rays swim team. He said that Swanson encouraged him to become a lifeguard, and throughout his time at Spring Lake, he learned how to become a leader and handle unexpected events. Louis will be attending Kishwaukee College before transferring to The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study computer science.
“What I enjoyed most about lifeguarding was working with the other guards,” Louis said. “Lifeguarding can be slow at times but talking with my friends while we rotated shifts always made lifeguarding more fun. I will miss the atmosphere of Spring Lake. Even when the days were gloomy, we always made the best of our days and we always had fun.”
“Tucker’s knowledge and experience as a lifeguard was instrumental in helping make Spring Lake Pool a safe and enjoyable experience for all,” Swanson said. “He was also an awesome swim instructor and his rapport with students and teaching methodology was second to none.”
Baxter Konstans had been a member of the Rochelle Rays since fifth grade. Konstans took up lifeguarding in 2018 after many summers in which Swanson asked him how old he was and whether or not he would sign up to be a lifeguard. Konstans, who will be attending Illinois Wesleyan University to earn a bachelor’s degree in acting, said that communication and building relationships are two important skills he acquired through lifeguarding.
“My coworkers were a lot of fun to be around,” Konstans said. “It’s always good to have people around you that know exactly what you’re going through, especially when you had a bad day on the stand. I will miss my coworkers, and some of my favorite memories are from the days where we came together to clean the facility. I could talk with the other employees and managers and just have an enjoyable day with limited or no stress.”
“Baxter was an all-around go-to employee and an extremely dedicated swimmer,” Swanson said. “He was voted one of our three Lifeguards of the Year last season. The hardest thing about COVID-19 is missing out on the chance to work with these outstanding young people.”