Rio Olympics 2016

We think we may have found the worlds most useless job… with the best benefits.


At the Olympic swimming pool, the world’s best swimmers are never more than a few strokes from the pool wall and always within reach of a buoyant lane marker.

They are constantly watched by countless coaches and assistants.

Rio Olympics 2016

Also watching?


The Olympic swimming pool has lifeguards, just in case someone like Michael Phelps, winner of 18 gold medals, needs to be rescued.

Despite hundreds of the best swimmers on the planet converging in Rio de Janeiro to battle it out for gold, silver and bronze, Brazilian law means that any public pool over a certain size must have lifeguards on duty at all times while there are people swimming in it.

That means while Phelps duels with his London 2012 rival Chad Le Clos and the rest of the Olympic hopefuls, two people in distinct yellow and red outfits with whistles and buoyancy aids at the ready will be standing in the background for the world to see.

“It is a Brazilian law that any public pool over a certain size has to have lifeguards,” Ricardo Prado, sport manager for aquatics, told Reuters.

“We wish we didn’t have them either (at the Games) but we have to have them.”

The lifeguards are among the few allowed on the pool deck, meaning they can get closer to the action than anyone else beyond the officials judging the races, and the chances are that there won’t be a single incident for them to deal with throughout the event.

“It’s a one-in-a-million type of event, but we’re prepared,” said 39-year-old lifeguard Anderson Fertes, who also admitted that he’s “dreaming of that possibility” of having to rescue Phelps during the Olympics.

“I don’t think they’ll need us, but we’ll be on the lookout just in case.”

Despite it being law in Brazil for any pool larger than six by six meters to be guarded, the comical effect of having lifeguards at the Olympics has not been lost on the athletes.

“It’s really one of the funniest things I’ve seen in the Olympic Games so far,” New Zealand swimmer Matthew Stanley told reporters this week.

Of course Lifeguards serve an incredible purpose in the right environments but we’re also guessing the best swimmers on the planet won’t need them… we hope.

And while the men and women have been given the task of guarding the pool – and interestingly enough being paid about $340 throughout the fortnight for essentially watching the Olympics – they’ve landed one of the best seats in the house.

We’re just not sure why they look so bored.

Rio Olympics 2016

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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