ST. LOUIS – It’s been discovered that there’s a reported surplus of lifeguards for this upcoming summer camp season after reported shortages the last few years.

The consequence of a lifeguard shortage is well known, as it’s tied to the 2022 summer camp drowning of 6-year-old T.J. Mister. He died at St. Louis County’s Kennedy Rec Center. Mister’s death followed a series of pool safety failures, which not only included poor staffing but also failed equipment.

That was when Midwest Pool Management came in. It’s one of the region’s premier pool watchdog businesses, hired by St. Louis County to prevent another tragedy.

FOX 2 met company personnel at Crestwood’s pool as they were preparing for next weekend’s opening.

“We’re very confident and excited about the summer,” owner Crissy Withrow said.

Withrow’s company watches over more than 15 government pools in the St. Louis area, ready to respond to anything.

“That is how we look at our staff—first responders. They go through rigorous lifeguard training and go through consistent in-service ongoing training,” she said.

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After reported challenges hiring lifeguards the last few years, Withrow says she now has a surplus.

“We are in a very excellent position,” she said. “Staffed to open all our facilities, full hours. We have some people who are on wait lists in some areas of town.”

Withrow credits all of it to a strong presence on social media and referrals from within her own staff. Lifeguard Anina Montroy answered the call.

“This year we have so many guards and I’m so excited because we build a really good community here,” she told FOX 2.

Montroy was surprised when she first started working four years ago to find herself almost immediately saving someone.

“It was not obvious, the drowning,” she said. “It happens super quickly and looks very different from other people and his son was joking, ‘Dad, you’re fine, get on up,’ and I looked at the signs and realized he was not ok.”

She credits her training—something the company’s owner, Withrow, understands at its core—because she began her career as a lifeguard.