Lifeguard Philip watching over the Olympians on the Serpentine

Philip Ritchie, from Tynemouth, has temporarily swapped Tynemouth Long Sands for the Serpentine River in Hyde Park, where he is providing safety cover for the triathlon and marathon swim events at London 2012.

Philip Ritchie, from Tynemouth, has temporarily swapped Tynemouth Long Sands for the Serpentine River in Hyde Park, where he is providing safety cover for the triathlon and marathon swim events at London 2012.

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A BOROUGH lifeguard is keeping a close eye on some Olympians after being drafted in to provide safety cover.

Philip Ritchie, from Tynemouth, has temporarily swapped Tynemouth Long Sands for the Serpentine in Hyde Park, where he is covering the triathlon and marathon swim events at London 2012.

Phil is among the charity’s team of ten lifeguards from across the UK who are providing daily cover for a variety of athlete training sessions and actual Olympic events.

The lifeguards, who are highly trained in first aid and water rescue, received extra on-site training in evacuation procedures and rescue drills, ahead of the start of the games last week.

Three of the charity’s rescue watercraft (jet skis) have been transported to the site for the lifeguards to use in the event of a rescue.

Phil took part in last year’s Olympic rehearsals and thoroughly enjoyed providing safety cover for the triathlon marathon swim events.

He even got to put his skills to good use when he was involved in rescuing an athlete who was suffering from cramp.

Phil, who will be covering the games until August 12, said: “I will be relying on all my usual lifeguarding skills at the Olympics.

“The only difference is that if I rescue someone, I’ll be recovering them to a pontoon instead of a beach.

“It is a real honour to be involved in providing such a vital role at the 2012 Olympics. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.”

RNLI lifeboat crew are also providing safety and medical cover for the Olympics at the competitive sailing events in Weymouth.