Ex-Senator Solomon makes mark as beach lifeguard

Dover High grad Amane Solomon (in back) takes part in a lifeguarding competition with the Rehoboth Beach Patrol. (Submitted photo)

Dover High grad Amane Solomon (in back) takes part in a lifeguarding competition with the Rehoboth Beach Patrol. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — If Amane Solomon was going to quit, it probably would have happened her first day on the job.

The Dover High swimmer was on her first day training with the Rehoboth Beach Patrol when she started getting pulled out to sea by a rip current.
One of her fellow lifeguards, Milford High grad Jordan Lingo, had to jump in and save her.

“I think that was the day that I thought I wasn’t brave enough to do it,” said Solomon.

But Solomon overcame that rough start. Five years later, the 22-year-old Delaware State student is still a lifeguard at Rehoboth.

And while plenty of high school athletes from both Kent and Sussex County have lifeguarded at the beach, Solomon is believed to be the first black, female lifeguard that Rehoboth has had.

Rehoboth Beach Patrol captain Kent Buckson and Solomon’s father, Jim, are both Dover High teachers. It was Buckson who suggested that Amane give it a try.

Amane said she was interested.

“I was surprised,” said Jim Solomon, Dover’s longtime track & field coach. “I didn’t think she’d be brave enough to swim out in the ocean. (But) she accepted the challenge, went down and passed the lifeguard test.”

Jim Solomon said he talked to his daughter about the fact that there weren’t any other black, female lifeguards at Rehoboth.

“It didn’t matter to her,” he said.

“Yes, it is cool to be the first (female) African-American lifeguard,” said Amane. “But I just look it as a job. I don’t feel any different from anybody else that I work with. We’re all a big, happy family. I just go out there and I just do my job and I do my best.”

Amane’s younger sister, Brianna, is a member of the Hood College women’s swimming team. A 2012 Dover grad, Amane was on the North Carolina A&T swim team as a freshman before transferring to Delaware State.

Jim Solomon said he had both his daughters in the pool since they were six months old. Solomon thinks working as a beach lifeguard has really helped Amane grow up.

“Buckson has done a great job with her,” said Solomon. “It’s not a walk-in-the-park type of job. It’s a tough job, it’s demanding. My hat’s off to all of them down there.”

Amane Solomon, who had never been a lifeguard before joining the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, said she’s glad she stuck with it.

She said the people she works with inspire her and motivate her all the time. They talked her into staying with college when she thought about leaving school.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have them,” said Amane. “I love going back there every summer, meeting new people and being with the same people again. It’s actually a home, a big family.”

And while Amane started off by having to be rescued her day on the job, she’s saved her share of swimmers over the years. She estimates she’s had about 20 rescues in her career.

Amane remembers her first rescue. She was sitting with another lifeguard, Caesar Rodney High grad Matt Matsko, when two girls got caught in a riptide.

“We both had to go in and save them at the same time,” said Solomon. “That was a really dangerous rescue. We had so many saves back-to-back that day, it was crazy. We both went home and went to sleep right when we got home.

“It’s a big responsibility,” she said about lifeguarding. “You just feel loved by all the patrons, they really respect you a lot. It’s a great feeling.”

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