Lifesaving Sport History

Lifesaving Sport is the only sport whose skills are first learned for humanitarian purposes. Indeed, the promotion of competition was part of the Aims of the Lifesaving Society at its formation in 1891. Lifesaving Sport is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Commonwealth Games Federation.

In Canada, lifesaving races were being organized in the 1930’s. Local and regional lifeguard competitions were being organized in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The Society organized the first Alberta Lifeguard Championship in 1973, followed by the first Canadian Lifeguard Championships which place in Winnipeg in 1977.

In 1986, British Columbia and Yukon Branch hosted Rescue ‘86 - the first biannual international symposium and lifesaving competition - highlighting the RLSSC’s leadership in the world lifesaving community.

In 1995, the Junior Lifeguard Club program was introduced.

In 2000, Canada sent a national team and teams from the provinces to compete at Rescue 2000 World Lifesaving Championships in Sydney, Australia. Since then, Alberta and Northwest Territories athletes, coaches, and officials have been well represented on the international stage.

In 2009, the Alberta and Northwest Territories Branch hosted Edmonton 2009: RLSS Commonwealth Conference & Lifesaving Championships.

Today, residents of Alberta and the Northwest Territories compete internationally in World and Commonwealth Championships, nationally in separate pool, surf and emergency response championships, and provincially in pool championships and games and emergency response competition.