Gus and Goldie can help you stay afloat!


The cool blue water screams fresh when the summer heat scorches the valley. Pools are perfect to refresh and flow with the ride of the water. But oh what if the depth is feared, and the panic begins with a lack of skills to glide through the water?

No swimming skills? Gus and Goldie to the rescue!

For years, Gus and Goldie have been the face of summer swimming programs. Two characters created in 1979, they still serve to promote the learn-to-swim program. It is now a franchised business from El Paso, and available across municipal pools in the Rio Grande Valley.

Life Guards at each pool are in charge of making sure they teach skills that will allow individuals to swim without fear of drowning; It is an essential life skill. They make sure those who sign up for the program will be able to high five Gus and Goldie at the end of their swimming lessons and take a plunge off the diving board, in the deep water.

Lifeguards at the Boys Club Municipal Pool in McAllen shared what their job is all about. Get your swimming attire ready, because these lifesavers (literally) know how to rule.


Life Guards’ main task is NOT to rescue people!

According to Mathew McKeon, the manager on site, a lifeguard’s main duty is to be on a state of prevention and awareness.  Guards are taught to recognize situations that might indicate an individual is having trouble staying afloat. Signs can range from holding on to the sides to tiptoeing to flailing after a dive. If a rescue is needed, the whistle is blown and all lifeguards are aware of the ongoing situation. One child won’t be drowning while the other is being rescued.

Learning is also for lifeguards.

Lifeguard Shiloh Peterson says being on the look out eventually becomes instinct while on duty at the pool. You learn to always be aware of surroundings no matter where you go.

Gus and Goldie program is rewarding for both the learner and the guard.

Seeing that your efforts made were effective to attain a goal is always gratifying. Teaching someone to swim AND having fun is the goal for the guards at the McAllen pool.

“You get to teach them to swim, see them succeed, and they keep coming back for years.” – Rebekah, 5th year lifeguard.

Boredom isn’t a component of swimming lessons and lifeguards incorporate games to teach valuable swimming techniques. They admit it, its fun for them too.

Benefits of being a lifeguard.

  • If you’re lucky, you can dress up as Gus or Goldie and shed some sweat droplets in the heat.
  • You get to know half of the city’s population, run into them at H-E-B, because they all happen to be your learners.
  • Lifeguards can give more than 50 high fives within an hour and bring a smile to a young kid.
  • Lifeguards become family because they’re in it together even during restroom duty.


How can parents be sure that Gus and Goldie are taking care of their children?

Lifeguards must complete physical trainings to assure they are fit enough to make a rescue. The summer heat might make it harder for guards, but they have practiced retrieving a block brick, from the deep water, numerous times along with also having to rescue their lifeguard coworkers who act as victims.

“Gus and Goldie teaches skills from infants to adults.” We teach a skill that will be remembered forever. It’s a positive safety skill to have for the rest of your life.”-Ana Romero.

Last, but not least.

Though Gus and Goldie have been around for years, kids still respond insanely to their presence. They want to high five them and take pictures with the characters. After all, Gus and Goldie are here to teach survival skills.

Whether you’re looking to swim competitively, don’t want to be afraid of the water, or have absolutely no swimming skills, don’t think twice about swimming with Gus and Goldie!