The most challenging part about acquiring the skills to become an American Red Cross lifeguard is not the physical aspect, but the mental one.

“It’s trusting yourself to see if you have what it takes to go out and save somebody,” said Elaina Lister, 16, a student who took the class, April 1 to 5 at Tucker Indoor Pool.

Students were required to pass a swim test as a prerequisite for taking the class. The test included a 300-yard swim, 30-yard swim/brick retrieval and two-minutes treading without the use of hands.

Offered by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the class taught first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation skills en route to obtaining ARC certification.

The students thought the $200 fee was worth it.

Students learned to respond to swimmers under stress, and to assume the role of primary or secondary rescuer, which is important to determining who takes the lead in any rescue attempt.

The primary rescuer is the first person who identifies that a rescue is needed, and the secondary rescuer comes over to offer assistance.

The students are faced with different skills scenarios, said Cliff Pryor II, assistant aquatics manager, FMWR. They must be able to make assessments and render aid.

As temperatures hovered in the mid-80s one Friday afternoon at Tucker Indoor Pool, students; Kathleen Brock, Elizabeth Krumpelman, and Jerome Shank spent time identifying “victim,” Payton Reynolds and removing her from the water.

They were in the final stage of a 32-hour course.

The skills learned are helpful for any emergency situation, such as if a sibling would need help, said Reynolds.

But, mastering the skills go beyond the pool.

“It’s not just resources you will need in the pool, but it will help you in real life,” Brock said.

Scarlett Lister, 15, seemed to enjoy taking the class alongside her little sister, Elaina.

“I like working with her because she can critique me and I can critique her without getting upset with each other,” Scarlett said.

Elise Wolff, one of 17 students who took the class, made an assessment of her classmates — “Every one seems to be willing to learn and were excited to become FMWR lifeguards,” she said.

For more information about aquatic events, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/aquatics.