50 Years Later, Lifeguard Returns to Work on Jersey Beach
If you are on the beach in Sea Isle City through the end of this summer, you may notice one lifeguard who seems a little older than the rest. That's probably Eric Greensmith, a retired doctor back on the lifeguard stand after 50 years.
He was a member of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol from 1972 to 1975 before going on to finish college, and medical school and serving in the Navy for six years.
Greensmith, 67, spent the last 35 years as an anesthesiologist before retiring in April.
He was thinking of a job he would enjoy after retirement and began wondering if he could pass the lifeguard requalification test.
Greeensmith told the Wall Street Journal that he worked for almost a year training for the test. In that time, he slimmed down from 210 to 175 pounds with twice-daily workouts of swimming in the morning and running and lifting weights in the afternoon.
He also paid close attention to his diet with help from the Noom app.
His goal was to be able to run a half-mile in 3 1/2 minutes and swim 500 meters in 10 minutes, the requirement for making the SIC Beach Patrol in 2022.
When the time came to take the requalification test, Greensmith passed easily and rejoined the beach patrol.
He now rides his bicycle 18 miles round trip from his Stone Harbor home five days a week for his lifeguarding shift, where it's not unusual for him to be paired with other guards as young as 17 years old. Greensmith plans to work through the season, switching to weekends only after labor Day.
Greensmith isn't the only retiree on the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol. Last year, 58-year-old retired pharmaceutical consultant Kirk Oates became a Sea Isle City lifeguard for the first time, according to Sea Isle Times.
With the serious shortage of lifeguards at Jersey beaches this summer, beach patrols are looking for qualified guards anywhere they can find them. In Eric Greensmith's case, they just had in look back to 1972.