SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Methuen native Cris "Spike" Dobrosielski's presence along the Salisbury shoreline was a given every summer from the time he was 9 years old.
A year removed from losing his father, Vincent, a young Dobrosielski looked to the lifeguards of Salisbury as role models. Too young to be a professional lifeguard — Dobrosielski would have to wait until his 17th birthday for that mark of passage — he was honored as Salisbury Beach's first junior lifeguard. As he strolled the beaches, he learned from the best and was taught about the ocean.
"The guards of Salisbury stepped in and provided more friendship, guidance and love than you could imagine," said Dobrosielski, mentioning the friendships he shared with older guards like Craig Weir, Patrick Griffin and Ron Simmons.
In essence, Dobrosielski has been wearing orange shorts his entire life.
Now 41 and living in San Diego, Dobrosielski, the same lifeguard who hounded the older teens for attention and earned CPR certificates years before he was even technically eligible to protect North Shore waters, is in a league of his own.
A multiple-event winner in the 2002 and 2004 World Lifesaving Association Championships and the 2009 United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Lifeguard Champion in the International Ironman competition (40-44 age division), Dobrosielski, a personal and group fitness trainer, has made a living of pushing his body and mind to the utmost limits, while subsequently teaching others the craft of enjoying life at every age and ability level.
Dobrosielski once again found himself matched up against the best watermen the world has to offer at this year's USLA National Lifeguard Competition held at Huntington Beach, earning a third place finish in the men's run-swim-run competition (40-44 age division).
Currently serving as a team leader for the San Diego city lifesaving competition team, working as a volunteer strength and conditioning coach for the San Diego canoe and kayak Olympic development team, and running his own strength and conditioning company called Monumental Results Inc., Dobrosielski's career path rolled in various directions before his true calling emerged.