Lifeguards Reflect on Summer Experiences at Olathe Lake


Autumn Hughey

Beach goers spend Labor Day weekend on the new lake addition.

Tyler Burkett

On June 29, a new opportunity for summer fun was presented to everyone all around Olathe. 

Lake Olathe underwent renovations over the summer that completely changed the east side of the lake. Along with a new beach and marina for locals to enjoy, an inflatable aqua park was added on top of the lake. 

Many teenagers, especially at Olathe West, decided to take on jobs at the new beach area at Lake Olathe. 

One student, junior Autumn Hughey, recalls why she chose this particular job. “It was different, it was a different ball game than all the other pools. Because pools are just like run of the mill, the lake was a new facility so I wanted to try it out. Plus I knew the manager out there, he was my fire instructor last year,” Hughey said.

Lifeguards arrived daily at Lake Olathe at 10:30 a.m. to set up and prepare for the day ahead. 

“We would just do our opening jobs,” senior lifeguard Alyssa Ward said. “Raking the beach, making sure there wasn’t any sharp objects or anything, we would just place the tubes out, make sure all of us had our stands that we were going to start on. Then the day got started.”

Along with watching swimmers on the lake, lifeguards have to also be alert to other dangers such as the residents that rented kayaks, sailboats and paddle boards. Hughey recalls a time she had to rescue a few lost sail-boaters.

“We have a spillway at one of the ends of the lake, and we didn’t have signs up for it yet and there were these two sailboats over there and they were five feet away from it. It had rained pretty hard a couple nights ago, and so the spillway was spilling over and it’s a forty foot drop. “

During the renovation period of the east side of Lake Olathe, police officers started cracking down on old rules across the lake. Police enforced the no swimming rule previously in place and looked out for people jumping off the cliffs around the lake.

“I heard a little bit about it, but there were still people that would go over there.” Hughey said. “We couldn’t exactly see them from our stands, but if you went out to the edge of the dock, you could still see people and there were a couple instances were we called the police on them. Even though they weren’t in our territory we were still trying to watch out for them.”

Now that school is back in full swing, lifeguards hang up their whistles and get ready to face a new school year.

“I think it’s a really good first job to get you started. Plus it’s a really fun summer job being right by the water.” Ward said.