Two lifeguards rescue two swimmers at community pool

Published 12:17 am Thursday, June 13, 2019


NATCHEZ — Two lifeguards rescued two people at the Natchez Community Swimming pool on Tuesday, the pool’s manager said.

“We’ve never had that happen,” said pool manager Fay Minor of the two rescues in one day.

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Minor said Tuesday’s two rescues were also the first rescues of the season.

One of the lifeguards, Cate Drane, 15, who rescued a 23-year-old man, was working her first day on the job as a lifeguard, Minor said.

“I don’t think she had been there two hours before it happened,” Minor said.

The other lifeguard, Thomas Geoghegan, 17, is a second-year lifeguard at the pool and he had never had to rescue anyone before Tuesday’s incident, Minor said.

The man Drane rescued, Minor said, had come to the pool with his wife and daughter, and they were playing in the shallow end of the pool.

“He was a big, tall guy,” Minor said. “He was twice her (Drane’s) size.”

Minor said the man told lifeguards he knew how to swim but was planning on staying in the shallow end with his wife and daughter.

Pool managers only administer swim tests to people under 18 years old, Minor said, and all children must pass a swim test, which consists of swimming a lap and treading water for 40-seconds under close supervision of a “swim tester.”

“He knew how to swim,” Minor said of the 23-year-old man, “but he said he was going to stay in the shallow end with his wife and daughter.”

The man even jokingly called out to the lifeguard a couple of times while in the shallow end, Minor said.

“His wife told him, ‘You better quit playing because something really could happen to you,’” Minor said, adding the man later ventured into the deep end and panicked. “That’s what happened. He was hollering, ‘Lifeguard!’ when she had to come in and save him.”

Minor said Drane had to dive to the bottom of the deep end to pull the man out and Drane performed the rescue well.

Geoghegan said he saw Drane rescue the man.

“I was probably more scared than she was,” Geoghegan said. “She was cool about it. She just jumped in and saved him. I ran all the way around the pool. I thought she needed help or something.”

When Drane got the man out of the pool, he was OK.

“He sat down on the side of the pool and held his breath for a minute,” Minor said, “and he stayed there another 30 minutes with his wife and daughter.”

Drane said she only completed her lifeguard training in mid May and felt the recent training paid off.

“It really helped me to identify if someone is drowning or not,” Drane said.

The other Tuesday rescue, Minor said, was of a 10-year-old who told the lifeguards he could swim and was in the process of taking the swim test.

“Kids who say they can swim, they can’t always swim,” Minor said. “In their mind they can. He was fine in the shallow water, and as he went in to the deep water he just started treading water and going under and pushing himself back up and the lifeguard was trying to get to him with the red lifeguard rod, but it wasn’t reaching to him. Eventually he grabbed it and the lifeguard just pulled him over to the side of the pool.”

Geoghegan said it was a scary moment.

“I thought he was doing fine,” Geoghegan said. “His head went under, and I tried to help him get out of the water. But, he couldn’t really focus on me and I just got him out of the water as quickly as I could. It was quite scary. It felt like it was like 10-minutes long but that is a lot longer than it was. That was my first save.”

Natchez Democrat Photographer Nicole Hester contributed to this report.