Footage and article courtesy of RTÉ

“They are fitter, stronger and tougher.”

On a wet and misty morning in Salthill a group of lifeguards are being put through their paces.

As they race across the cold, wet sand, their trainer Andrew Lally, a dentist and a volunteer, explains how this year’s training has made for “hardier” lifeguards.

Usually, their training would take place in swimming pools, but they are closed because of public health restrictions.

“They’ve all had their wetsuits out since before St Patrick’s Day, and they’ve been in and out of the water every weekend,” he said.

Training on beaches has been a good way to get used to the “tougher conditions”.

“If there are storms during the summer, we’ll be confident that we have the training to handle it,” said Sinead Ready, a lifeguard who has been covering beaches around Galway for the past four years.

The official season runs from June until September, when over 400 men and women certified as lifeguards will be posted at beaches and lakes.

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