Judicial Watch • City Recruits Minority Lifeguards Even if They Can’t Swim

City Recruits Minority Lifeguards Even if They Can’t Swim

City Recruits Minority Lifeguards Even if They Can’t Swim

APRIL 03, 2013

In a staggering case of affirmative action gone wild, officials in a major U.S. city are actually recruiting minorities to be lifeguards at public pools even if they’re not good swimmers. It’s all in the name of diversity.   

You can’t make this stuff up. It’s a real-life story out of Phoenix, the capitol of Arizona and the nation’s sixth-largest city. It has more than 1.4 million residents and, among its official mottos is “value and respect” of diversity. This means “more than gender and race,” according to the city’s official website. It also encompasses “uniqueness and individuality” and embracing differences. “We put this belief into action to provide effective services to our diverse community.”

Evidently officials are willing to compromise those “effective services” at 29 public swimming pools spread throughout the city. To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they’re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that “we will work with you in your swimming abilities.”

There’s a good reason the city is hiring lifeguards that can’t swim. Public pools are largely used by Latino and African-American kids, but most of the lifeguards are white and this creates a huge problem. “The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white and we don’t like that,” says a Phoenix official quoted in the story. She added that “the kids don’t relate; there’s language issues.”

How did it ever come to this? Competitive swimming is a sport dominated by whites. In fact, studies have found that blacks and Hispanics have lower swimming proficiency compared to whites. In Phoenix public pool lifeguards have traditionally come from “more affluent parts of town” where schools have swim teams. That means virtually no minorities, so the city launched this special program to recruit some.

Though this is a local effort in one city, it’s also part of a national trend to boost the minority workforce at whatever cost. Under President Obama we have seen a lot of this at the federal level through a variety of specially-designed government programs that give ethnic minorities special treatment at all federal agencies as well as medical and agricultural fields, among others.

Earlier this year the administration made history by hiring the government’s first “Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity” to mastermind a multi-million-dollar effort that boosts the number of minorities in biomedical research and slashes discrimination in the federal grant process. The effort was initially launched last year after a government-sanctioned study uncovered a “disturbing and disheartening” lack of racial diversity in the field. 

Before that the administration created a new office help build a “diverse and inclusive workforce” at all federal agencies and Obama appointed a “Diversity Czar” at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help advance the goal of greater inclusion and diversity in government programs. Who could forget the race and gender employment quotas required at private financial institutions under Obama’s financial reform measure (known as the Dodd-Frank bill) to overhaul Wall Street? It’s all in the name of diversity.


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  • bootman4er

    Cecil, You need to wake up from whatever drunken stupor you are in. If you even consider Obama a good person, much less a good president, and even Hillary a good person you must be living on a different planet. Unless you are a food stamp medicaid recipient. This Country and lots of Corporations and suffered and are losing due to this affirmative action crap.

  • derfallbright

    I have not researched the full details of this story, so I must assume some of the details of this story must be missing.

    1. I understand the logic of having more minority life guards to serve as positive roll models, particularly in a minority community, however the city of Phoenix can not ignore the law and hire people that do not meet the basic requirements for the job just to provide racial diversity.

    2. I assume there has been no previous finding of racial discrimination in hiring practices by the city of Phoenix recreation department therefore there is no court order in place to correct previous discrimination.

    3. I assume the city pools carry some kind of insurance policy. I find it impossible to believe any insurance company would issue a policy if the life guards were not fully certified ‘in advance’ of their ever being placed in the position of life guard. I assume no insurance company is going to think guarding children is a place for on the job training.

    4. I suppose there is nothing wrong with having targeted swimming programs to assist minority swimmers in becoming more able to pass the ‘water safety certification’ classes that are required to become a life guard. This could get tricky if white children are turned away from the training program strictly based on their race.

    5. Now if it is true that the city is going to hire people that are not certified lifeguards just because of their race, then any 2nd year law students needs to be the first to contact the family that loses a child in a city pool accident, because the law suit settlement will be in the millions.

  • JDawson

    So, we have a title that says “can’t swim,” then state that they’re not as good swimmers in the first paragraph, when in reality they just aren’t hiring most of the swimmers that do the absolute best. They still need to go through the process of becoming a lifeguard just like everyone else, a process that has a standard of physical and mental aptitude. The publisher of this post should be ashamed of himself/herself for spouting such sensationalism that has little to no ground.


    In addition to my qualifiications below, I trained, participitated on and even captained a traveling Lifeguard Competition Team. I also was presented with a signed rescue tube for Lifeguard of the Year in 2001 but there is no weight limit stamped on it.

    To F below:
    1) I could, by myself, push a Red Cross Rescue Tube over 4 feet under water by standing on it.
    2) I remember my first practice rescue, a 190 pound man, I thought I was drowning while pulling him while his shoulders were properly over the tube. You must have two hands on the rescued when they are fighting you, in that case your only propulsion and ability to keep your head above water is your own leg kick.
    3) Other guards must watch their water and yours, too, when you make a rescue, there is no help.
    4) A fifty meter pool can present a big challenge, think about it, you may have to tow someone 40-50 feet to safety when time is critical. Not every rescue is of a 70 pound kid.
    5) While 8 of 10 of my rescues were pretty easy, one was very challenging and the other was just plain extreme. It took every ounce of energy and swimming/lifeguarding skills that I had to make that one.

    If Phoenix does not have strong minority swimmers, that’s their fault, shame on them!!!!! They have 29 pools where they should have been teaching swim lessons and starting up summer swim teams years ago.

    If they start doing the right thing now, then todays 13 & 14 year olds could be strong swimmers by the time they turn 16.

    Otherwise, its only fair that they should hire me with my limited basketball skills to play for the Phoenix Suns.

  • Fucku

    If “you people” knew anything about aquatic safety you would reconsider your ignorant statements. Lifeguards have rescue tubes. If someone can tell me the weight capacity of one I will be impressed. Not that impressed because you will google it. Second. Pools are small. Phoenix has a few 50 meter pools. At these pools they have 5 guards up at once. Someone will get your kid @bobbie. Remember @bobbie they are lifeguards not babysitters. Swimming has nothing to do with recognizing a drowning victim, alerting others and performing CPR or rescue breathing. Please don’t post when you know nothing about this issue. And I’m white.


    Diversity is a man being qualified for the Job but yet being in a minority…Take President Obama as an example….Lot of people say “HE IS NOT QUAILFIED TO BE PRESIDENT”…. I DISAGREE…He is the best we have this side of Hillary Clinton the next. Thus I think for the most part this has to do with the person writing this story.


    I swam on high school and college swim teams, was a lifeguard for 7 summer seasons and have taught both lifeguarding and swim lessons.

    Most high scholl swimmers swim 2500 yards about 100 times a season thats is 250,000 yards! You just don’t go from being a weak swimmer to be a stronger swimmer in an afternoon, it not only takes skill, coordination but lots of muscle development to be a strong swimmer. Good swimmers, if they can find them, can be turned into strong swimmers in a week or two.

    What Phoenix should be doing is providiing swim lessons at these pools and starting up swim teams so that today’s 13-14 year olds can be strong swimmers when they turn 16.

  • Oinia

    ObamaCare does this to our entire medical system. Surgeons and specialists are leaving in droves. Underqualified nurses will have to perform procedures, or we’ll have to wait 1-2 years for a qualified MD.

    When human life is at stake, apparently what matters to Democrats is the veneer of social justice.

  • GringoHonkey

    Minority lifeguards who are weak swimmers will drown those whom they’re attempting to rescue, as well as themselves. The Phoenix lifeguard workplace will thus become less diverse. Here is a telling video of a successful minority lifeguard applicant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_2usn-pkgU

  • auhunter

    This is asinine! How about a little diversity in language. These people came here for greater opportunity for their families, great, now learn the language and become citizens. Don’t downgrade the nation by making us adapt to your former countries ways and believes. We don’t care what language you use talking to each other or what religion you practice, but if you want to truly succeed in this country you’re going to have to learn English.Swimming: Bonney says it all. It’s an accident looking for someplace to happen. As for national diversity, as anyone in local, state, or federal government stopped to think maybe, just maybe, these people don’t want to become rocket scientists. Maybe they want to continue working as mechanics or gardeners as they did in the old country. I have a degree in Marine Biology, which I enjoyed, but I have also spent thousands of hours as a handyman, both for myself and others in the community.

  • teresag

    Teresa Fri 4/5/13

    People have to much time on there hands, REAlLY,! Who cares what color of skin a lifeguard has or how many white, black, Latinos, Chinese are sitting in the lifeguard chairs. As long as someone has the qualifications to be in those chairs and can save lives.

    I live near Tucson, Az it makes no sense why the city would spend money to train these people to do the work of someone who already has the qualifications. That is what is WRONG with this country and GOVERMENT to MUCH spending!!!!!. Why not put up an ad and see what kind of people/ethnic apply and go from there. If its not broke don’t fit it!

  • ashforkdan

    Its called ethnic cleansing.What better way to thin the heard.This is what you get when liberals are in control and are PC.Why fight it just let them do their thing.If you can’t kill them in the womb drown them.

  • linearinduction

    There’s just one tiny problem with this Article, all Pools that use Lifeguards must use Certified Lifeguards in order to receive an Operating Permit from the Health Department. The City of Phoenix, Arizona, uses Starfish Aquatics Institute (SFI) to Certify their Lifeguards. So in order to be hired by the City as a Lifeguard, each Lifeguard must be Certified by SFI. PERIOD! If you do not pass the training, you don’t become a Lifeguard. Since I work for a Water Park, I’m very aware of what goes into Certifying Lifeguards, and I’ve seen some go from weak swimmers to strong swimmers in a month and be some of our best guards.

  • Eduardode

    I am a Cuban American and I am a very good swimmer. There is no reason to hire unqualified life guards to safely monitor pools used by the minorities they are so eager to protect. Most Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos that live in coastal areas of their corresponding countries are very able swimmers. Most Jamaicans, which are of African ancestry are very good swimmers and would be qualified candidates. I have an MBA in human resources and if a position needs to be filled, the job is given to the best qualified candidate regardless of race, age, natural origin, sex, gender preference, or religion. Evidently the City of Phoenix is violating Title VII when they use race as a condition of employment. This practice may lead to multiple discrimination suits filed by qualified applicants when applicants that are not qualified are chosen because of their race. What can you expect of the PC crowd. As “bungopony” suggests: “They’ll only close the pools after a lawsuit or two-y’know the city was negligent in hiring unqualified ‘guards.”

  • dave

    Why stop with lifeguards? How about bus drivers not needing a drivers license or school teachers who cannot read English?

  • Gidge

    Wait until someone dies, because the lifeguard didn’t know CPR or any other first aid.

  • marksman

    Sounds like the city of Phoenix wants to get rid of minorities by letting them drown. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. If I were a minority in the city I would be screaming to the top of my lungs to stop this and protect my children. This is just another case of political correctness run amok. The difference in this case is it can cost children’s lives.

  • Bubble Burster

    I would suspect that not too many WHITE people want to POLICE a pool or wild blacks and hispanics.


  • yrral

    Miami dropped the swimming requirement for black recruits because they could not learn how to swim! I wonder what effect this has had on their performance? Life guards that cannot swim in like our liberal politicians that skate along on dogma until something happens that needs real leadership! It’s those emperors clothes again!

  • piolenc

    I wonder if the “progressives” pushing this deadly nonsense. Since when does a lifeguard need to “relate” culturally? His job is to rescue somebody in peril in the water, not to psychoanalyze him or jive with him. In fact, a lifeguard is never supposed to converse while on duty, as he might be distracted from performing his work.

  • pfbonney

    So now, instead of the life guard bringing a child safely out of harms way, we end up with two people drowning, as the panicking youngster tries to climb up out of the water – by climbing on top of the marginal-swimmer lifeguard, keeping HIS head below the water. So they both drown.

    This make sense to liberals, I guess.

    If having diversity is the issue here, I take it there would be no whites present at the pools if it wasn’t for the employment provided by being lifeguards. If you remove the whites from the life guard chairs, then how are these black, asian and hispanics going to experience cultural enrichment provided by the whites? You are ending up with less cultural diversity at the pools, not more.

  • wgamble

    Shouldn’t be to difficult to manage. Non-swimmer life guards must wear T-shirtswith a large “S” on front and back and work only on the shallow end. Swim qualified guards must wear T-shirts with “D” and are qualified to work either end of the pool.

  • billstanley

    I guess the Mexicans that cannot swim and were hired did not cross the border into Texas. newsandopinions dot net

  • Bobbie

    This is the dumbest thing I have seen yet! I would not let my child go to these pools. Now all kids will be in danger,all because blacks and Mexicans are racist. Watch the lawsuits fly!!

  • bungopony

    Unfortunataly,billrow,they’ll only close the pools after a lawsuit or two-y’know the city was negligent in hiring unqualified ‘guards.

  • jprAustin

    “…there’s language issues.” Phoenix Official

    got that right

  • GBell

    “There’s language issues.” I can see why.

  • billrow

    So what they are really saying is that the racist blacks and latinos in the pool don’t want white lifeguards telling them to obey the rules and not to be a danger to themselves and others.

    They would rather have an unqualified minority lifeguard that will either let them get away with murder and or let them drown.

    I say give them what they want and as soon as the fatalities start piling up they will close the public pools to “protect the children”

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