Military News

Monday, June 15, 2015

Buckner lifeguard finds fulfillment training others

by Airman Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs


6/15/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- "I like the skill of swimming and seeing students progress," said Mae-Lin Ynacay, lifeguard and water safety instructor at the Buckner Physical Fitness Center. "Even if it's something as simple as kicking more efficiently, I find satisfaction in seeing them progress."

She was born and raised in northern California, and was a varsity swimmer for three of her high school years in Sacramento.

She worked as a junior lifeguard during the summers at that time.

To become a lifeguard, one must complete the Red Cross course to become proficient in CPR, handling choking victims and other tasks.

Ynacay went to college in Oregon for a Bachelor's degree in Chinese Studies. She decided to join the Army with her passion to help others and a goal to be a medic. But due to her knowledge of the Chinese language, the Army needed her in intelligence.

She served eight years, then decided to follow her dream, moving to Alaska to pursue a doctorate at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

"The military was challenging, but I learned a lot," Ynacay said. "I miss the military in a lot of ways, like the camaraderie."

"I used to do martial arts back in the day, crossfit, triathlons; I think I have a pretty good range of physical activity experience in order to incorporate that, with swimming, to help people get back on their feet, literally," Ynacay said.

Ynacay worked as a lifeguard with basic rescue skills at the Buckner PFC in November 2014.

"Mae-Lin is a treat to work with and she is a team player," said Savannah Ericksen, lead lifeguard for the Buckner PFC. "We [at the Buckner PFC] pride ourselves on an above-average staff, so she fits right in."

Ynacay took courses to be a water safety instructor, which involves hydrodynamics, principles of water and teaching underwater movement mechanics.

The Buckner PFC pool offers swimming lessons to patrons age six months to adults. Red Cross certification courses are also offered in lifeguarding, first aid, CPR, automated external defibrillator and water safety. They host several events during the year for the community.

Ynacay teaches these swimming classes which are tailored to skill level and how comfortable students are in the water.
Ynacay is aiming for a master's degree in either biomechanics or kinesiology, in the meantime, she is striving to become a qualified physical therapist.

"You're helping people learn to move who are hindered otherwise and teach them how to move again, get them functional in life.
"I think swimming would be an excellent incorporation if I were to become a physical therapist," Ynacay said.

Swimming is a full-body workout, toning muscles as an aerobic exercise with underwater resistance. It is also a common exercise for recovery as the water alleviates the pressure of weight.

"It helps to know, as a lifeguard - someone who saves lives and teaches people how to swim - when we reach out to others and show them water safety, they could save the lives of others and themselves," Ynacay said.

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