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