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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bucking The System And Enjoying An Endless Summer At 50

American moved residences a lot and frequently change careers and positions relative to other societies. A mobile society living on a large land mass, the pioneering spirit and entrepreneurial drive are fuels that help boost the American economy in good times and in bad.

Millions of individuals of all ages and abilities seek their own dreams. Some are open water swimmers. Normally quiet and often laid-back compared to their land-based athletic colleagues, swimmers tend to quietly go about their lifestyle.

Bryan Buck, a masters swimmer from Irvine, California, is one of those stalwart individuals. Like turn buoys in Southern California ocean swims, Buck is a given in local open water events. Year after year and always with a smile on his face and pleasant encouragement to his colleagues and strangers who line up with him on the shorelines.

But this summer, he returned to his roots...at the age of 50 when he became a full-fledged lifeguard for the city of Newport Beach.

A former water polo player and swimmer who grew up body surfing the famous Wedge, Buck had to demonstrate his decades of ocean awareness and abilities at the 6-week Basic Lifeguard Academy where everyone has less than half his age. But the mortgage banker with kids who swims year-round in the Pacific Ocean is never one to back from a challenge. "It was quite an eye-opening experience. I was prepared for the physical challenge, but not so much the mental challenge. It was a very demanding program, but I was very impressed with the quality of people they had in there. I think there were 28 of us in the academy. The second oldest was 25. They were all good swimmers, and very good athletes. I hung in there. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done, going through that rookie training school. Some didn't qualify and said they'd never do it again."

Buck proved himself on the very first day on the job in one of the toughest shifts in America. Buck helped stabilize a girl who broke her neck at the Wedge. "Your instincts take over. I felt comfortable in that situation because, in the training we covered, you do things very repetitively. You do it over and over for hours, and you get graded on these things. The training is unbelievable. It's very extensive. You cover everything."

The body surfing Buck knows he has found his niche in the second half of his life. "I've been around water all my life, either swimming, surfing or bodysurfing. It just seemed the lifeguard program was a perfect fit for me, even though I'm quite a bit older than most people who go through the program."

He is making a statement by living his dream.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Buck.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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