A half-hour conversation with Flagler Palm Coast senior Lucy Noble touched on her job as a Volusia County lifeguard, but she would leave out a detail or two, like how she saved a family of four in her first summer on the tower.
“She didn’t tell you that?” her mom, Maegen Noble, asked.
A rip current dragged a husband and wife and their two young children into deep water. None of them could swim, Maegen said. When Lucy, 16 at the time, swam out with her lifesaving buoy, the father was attempting to hold his 2-year-old out of the water.
Noble managed to swim the family back to safety, pulling the buoy by herself. Afterward, she climbed back up to her tower.
“The father walked up to her and said, ‘Thank you so much. You just saved four lives.’ Lucy told him, ‘No problem, I’m just doing my job.’”
— MAEGAN NOBLE
“The father walked up to her and said, ‘Thank you so much. You just saved four lives.’” Maegen said. “Lucy told him, ‘No problem, I’m just doing my job,’”
Lucy Noble’s humility might only be surpassed by her dedication and drive to succeed.
She has been a competitive swimmer since she was 7. Once she reached high school, she was determined to do what it takes to swim in college.
At that point, there was no looking back, her mom said.
“She’s very self-driven with everything she does, especially swimming,” Maegen Noble said. “She set that goal and worked with her coaches to achieve it. We are certainly not the ones forcing her to get up at the crack of dawn and train sometimes twice a day. That’s all her.”
When they go on a family vacation, they have to schedule time for Lucy to go to the local YMCA to get some training in, Maegen said.
The hard work has paid off. Noble will swim next year for Eastern Michigan University, where coach Derek Perkins recruited her to be a sprint freestyler.
“As soon as I walked on campus and met all the girls, it felt like a family and something I wanted to be a part of,” Noble said. “Also, it was cool to see one of the other girls who’s swimming there is also from Florida, and she’s also a beach lifeguard. I knew if she could survive the cold weather I could.”
Noble finished her outstanding high school swim career in November with two top-10 finishes at the Class 4A state championships — 10th in the 50-yard freestyle (24.27 seconds) and ninth in the 100-yard backstroke with a personal record 48.08 seconds.
She trains and competes year-round with the Hydro4 swim team out of Ormond Beach. As much time as she puts into swimming and her job as a lifeguard, Noble is also a member of the Flagler Palm Coast National Honor Society; she is president of the FPC-TV club; she has been involved in Future Problem Solvers since sixth grade, advancing to state competition each year and international competition once; and she competes in national lifeguard competitions.
Noble serves the community as a member of the Flagler Board Riders Club through beach cleanups and volunteering at events. She also puts in community service hours for the National Honor Society. She’s volunteered at Grace Community Food Pantry, and she helped the Rotary Club set up and take down the holiday Fantasy Lights at Central Park at Town Center.
“She likes helping the community,” her mom said. “Saving lives is an amazing responsibility for a 16- to 18-year-old to have.”
Noble plans to major in communication and media studies at Eastern Michigan. She is involved in television production with FPC-TV. The club films events and reports on school news. She said she prefers to be behind the camera but has stepped in as a news anchor this year with last year’s top anchors graduating.
“I’ve been training the underclassmen a lot this year, so that when I leave next year, they’ll be able to carry it on,” she said.
“It’s you against the clock. Yeah, it’s nice to win, but really, you’re racing the clock, you’re racing yourself.”
— LUCY NOBLE
Noble enjoys filming sporting events and would like to eventually work for a sports broadcasting company. Besides swimming, she has participated in just about every individual and team sport. Her favorite competition, though, is surf lifesaving events, which are based on beach lifeguard skills.
“It’s really cool that the community of people who are committed to saving lives get to go out on the beach and showcase their individual talents,” she said.
Two years ago, at the United States Lifesaving Association’s Lifeguard Nationals at South Padre Island Island, Texas, Noble won six Under-19 events. Last year, she defended her “run-swim-run” title at Hermosa Beach, California.
“There’s tons of different events, and I do as many as I can. It’s just so much fun,” she said.
While Tom Gillin, her high school swim coach and Flagler Beach’s ocean rescue and recreation director, said Noble’s competitive drive makes her a perfect relay anchor, she focuses on competing against herself.
“I’m a 50 freestyler, so my whole race is under 30 seconds, rather than a soccer game being an hour and a half,” she said. “I just like how you can see that progress. It’s you against the clock. Yeah, it’s nice to win, but really, you’re racing the clock, you’re racing yourself. I care more about my own times than winning a race.”