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How to prepare for a Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course

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About the Courses

We are assuming if you are reading this, that you have either signed up to or are considering signing up to a Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course. 

That’s exciting, congrats! Let’s start by giving you a little background on the courses.

Lifesaving Society's Bronze Medallion program began in 1896 as Canada's first lifesaving certification program. Today the course is just the first step in becoming a certified Lifeguard in Canada. Sequentially, the pathway to becoming a certified National Lifeguard is as follows: 

  1. Bronze Medallion* - Prerequisite: 13 years of age
  2. Bronze Cross (Assistant Lifeguard) - Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion
  3. Standard First Aid & CPR-C - No prerequisite 
  4. National Lifeguard - Prerequisite: 15 years of age**, Bronze Cross, Standard First Aid & CPR-C

Aside from the obvious benefits from taking these courses, such as rescue skills, fitness and building a great resume, there are also a ton of other benefits. Soft skills and transferable skills that candidates gain from Bronze courses, such as confidence, teamwork and leadership will stay with them throughout the rest of their lives. 

Now let’s look at the different ways in which we run these courses.


Types of Courses

  • Crash Courses - Seal Swimming offers compact courses over the span of a single weekend, with Friday evening dedicated to dry-land activities and Saturday and Sunday full days, mostly wet! Courses generally run Fridays, from 18:00 to 21:00 and Saturdays and Sundays for 08:00 to 16:00.
    The plus side to these courses is that the learning material stays fresh of mind during the course. Keep in mind though with this option, that candidates have only a short time to master the physical standards.
    It should be noted that this is by far the most popular way to take these courses.
  • Summer Courses - Similar to the Crash Course modal, summer courses are run over the span of a week, typically over three to five days, but feature more of a summer camp-type setting. Expect a longer lunch break and a slightly more relaxed learning environment (keeping in mind that the same standards apply and must be met).
  • Session-long Courses - Seal Swimming offers session-based courses over the span of a seasonal swim session. Most sessions run for 9 weeks, with one two hour session per week.
    The plus side to these courses is that candidates have a longer period to hone in on the physical standards and more time to absorb the learning material. Candidates are given home assignments to review, with information that can be found in the Canadian Lifesaving Manual.
  • Combo Courses - For candidates who are stronger swimmers and confident learners, looking to take both the Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross as a combo course, Seal Swimming offers the option to combine the two into a single one-shot course. Note that these courses are only available by requesting information from our Customer Success Team.


So what kinds of things should candidates be doing to make sure that they are 100% prepared for the courses?


How to Prepare for your Course 

  1. Plan ahead!
    Lifeguard training and aquatic leadership courses take planning. Some candidates have mapped out their goals two to three years in advance. The prerequisite for Bronze Medallion is to be aged thirteen or older. Candidates are also eligible to take Bronze Medallion at a younger age, if they have completed the Bronze Star. At Seal Swimming we do not recommend taking the course until age thirteen, as there is a lot of responsibility to bear and the physical requirements can be demanding.
  2. Get registered!
    Try to find a course at least a month or two in advance, to allow enough time to get to the pool and swim. This way you will be more confident with the physical standards and will have more time to prepare for the course to give you extra peace of mind. 
  3. Swim!
    The best way to prepare is to prepare! When you register for a Bronze course with Seal Swimming you will receive an email from our team which will include a discount coupon and invite to attend the Lifeguard Squad program.
    Bronze courses are physically demanding and if you haven’t been swimming for a year or two, you will be challenged by the distance and fitness swims. Bronze Medallion candidates must complete a 500m swim in 15 minutes. Bronze Cross candidates must complete a 600m swim in 18 minutes.
    We also offer Lane Swimming and other Swim Squad activities, all of which will help you prepare for the course and allow you to feel confident arriving at the pool on the first day.
  4. Rest!
    Make sure that you are well rested and mentally alert for the course. Crash courses are long and enduring; a full night’s sleep is a must, to be alert and in proper shape to begin the course. This also goes for the weekend of the course. Make sure that you have canceled any other plans for the weekend if you are taking a crash course. If you can’t make alternate plans, see points one and two. 
  5. Energize!
    Candidates spend a lot of energy throughout the courses and there are not always a great deal of local options for healthy snacks that are close to the pool. Make sure that you eat a healthy meal the night before the course and throughout. We suggest bringing a (non-glass) refillable bottle for water and an energy drink. Also pack plenty of snacks to keep you alert, but remember - you will be in a pool - there is no eating on deck!
  6. Pack your gear!
    There will be a lot of jumping in and out of the water and there is nothing worse that putting on soggy swim gear or wrapping up in a damp towel. Bring two swim suits and two to three towels. 
  7. Check your emails!
    Our team will be in touch with more information about 48 hours before the course. They will want to check your prerequisites and provide information for lunch orders or delivery, which we plan as a group.
    If you have any questions about the courses along the way, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. 


We hope that this provides you with enough information to get you started with Bronze Medallion and Cross at Seal Swimming. Our team can’t wait to meet you and we look forward to sharing in your journey through the Lifeguard Training courses! Click on Courses, at the top of our website for information on how to get registered today.


* Bronze Medallion courses at Seal Swimming also include Emergency First Aid & CPR-B

** Certification requirement is age 15, however, the the age of employability varies based on the employer.