His third year at Memorial, Myers signed up for an outdoor recreation course that involved canoeing. The instructors, Kevin Redmond and Bas Kavanagh, noticed that Myers wasn’t a very good swimmer and they knew this would cause him some problems because the following semester, Myers would have to pass Dr. Ralph Wheeler’s aquatics class where swimming was the only requirement.
Myers had always wanted to be a physical education teacher and when the Prince Edward Island native was looking for a university, Memorial’s School of Human Kinetics and Recreation seemed like the best option. Before Memorial, Myers went to Holland College for a Sport and Leisure Management Diploma (graduating with one of the highest averages in the class) as well as played and coached basketball.
However, when it came to swimming, the only thing Myers knew was the dog paddle and would get tired after a quarter of a length. Myers had hit a roadblock on the path to his dream career.
He knew that if he didn’t pass these courses, his dream of becoming a teacher may not come true. “Dr. Kavanagh and Mr. Redmond took me aside, demonstrating that they truly cared for me not as a number but as a student as well as a person and fellow physical educator. They informed me of possible opportunities to take adult swimming lessons. I appreciated this kind gesture more then they probably realize.” So, Myers signed up for swimming lessons.
“My motivation was to prove to my instructors that it was worth taking the risk on me in allowing me in their courses ... All of these instructors believing in me made it very easy to get in the pool and love putting the work in.”
“I always give the benefit of doubt to the student,” noted Mr. Redmond, who let Myers into the course, despite his lack of swimming skills. “But they have to prove themselves and Rodney definitely did that.”
Myers was determined to conquer the aquatics course too. “The course plus putting in tons of extra time at the pool gave me a lifetime skill. I started as one of the worst swimmers in the class and ended up having one of the best endurance times and quality of strokes. I gained a new love for the sport of swimming.”
Then, Myers took it to another level. Last summer, he and seven of his co-workers from the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation got their Bronze Cross, Bronze Medallion and National Life Saving certifications.
In one year Myers went from being able to swim one length with one stroke to becoming a lifeguard. “I honestly never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever become a lifeguard … It is so rewarding now when I see old classmates, friends, family and instructors to first see the disbelief and shock in their eyes and then excitement of them being proud. It makes all the time and effort worth it.”