Teamwork aids in man's rescue at Swansfield


July 15, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE LAZY summer mood at the Swansfield neighborhood pool was shattered on the afternoon of June 26 after a 20-year-old man jumped off the diving board. The lifeguard on duty, 16-year-old Nick Thomas of Swansfield, saw him start to rise to the surface, then sink.

"I hopped off the chair and went down to get him," recalled Nick. "I realized he was unconscious before I went into the water because there was no movement," he added.

Nick dived to the bottom of the 9-foot diving well, grabbed the man with one arm and pulled him up using rope attached to a rescue tube.

Lifeguard Fred Frey and assistant pool manager Emily Pfeifer also rushed to the man's rescue. They performed the Heimlich maneuver several times and started rescue breathing.

"Everybody knew exactly what to do and did it," said Pfeifer, who has been a lifeguard for five years. "We worked as a team."

Within minutes, emergency crews arrived. A MedEvac helicopter landed on the open, grassy area near the pool. The victim was transported to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and later released.

Columbia Association spokeswoman Pam Mack, noting a policy of confidentiality regarding users of CA facilities, refused to give the victim's name.

"The whole staff was shaken up" by the incident, said Nick. After the rescue, he and Fred followed the recommended procedure of swimming laps to calm down. "We ran around the pool for a while, too," he said.

"It was my job," Nick said. "It's what I trained 70 hours to do."

Nick, an Eagle Scout in Troop 75, has been a lifeguard for the Boy Scouts of America since he was 14. This is his second year as a lifeguard for the Columbia Association.

Swimming for charity

Swimmers from 13 of the 14 teams in the Columbia Neighborhood Swim League spent Saturday night and early Sunday swimming to raise money for a variety of charitable organizations.

It was the first time most of the teams held their swim-a-thons the same evening. The purpose, according to league supervisor Ed Cosentino, was "to encourage a Columbia-wide movement to raise money for charity through swimming."

The swim-a-thons began at 8 p.m. Saturday, when the pools closed to the public, and concluded at 8 a.m. the next morning. Some teams solicited pledges for the number of laps they swam, while others asked for donations or charged admission.

Cosentino said he was out until 3: 30 a.m. Sunday visiting the teams. After midnight, he found most of the swimmers sound asleep, on lawn chairs or in tents pitched around the pools. "It was a fun atmosphere," he said. "It's what the summer is all about."

The Clary's Forest/Hawthorn Sundevils, under the direction of head coach Dave Oliver, swam at the Hawthorn pool. They raised money for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, Voices for Children and Cedar Lane Summer Camp. Team managers are Beverly Prosen and Eileen Clegg.

At the Dorsey Hall pool, members of the Dorsey's Search Dolphins raised money for the Colon Cancer Foundation. The money will be donated as a memorial for Fred Forshey, a parent volunteer who had served as the team's starter. Forshey died in April of colon cancer. The head coach is Cindy Schnaar. Suzy Mervine and Diane Harvill are team managers.

The Harper's Choice Challenge swam at the Longfellow pool to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and for the memorial fund for Dianne La Verghetta, a teacher at Longfellow Elementary School who died last spring. Head coach is Abby Mueller. Robin Procida and Marylin Duff are team managers.

The Pheasant Ridge Rapids, led by head coach Sara Forster, swam at the River Hill pool to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. Antoinette Cates is team manager.

Sharing the pool with the Rapids were the Pointers Run Piranhas, led by head coach Holly Maggio. They raised money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Managing the team are Pam Ferrari and Carol Wolter.

The Wilde Lake Wildecats swam at the Bryant Woods pool to raise money for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. The team's head coach is Kelly Zimmerman. Team managers are Debrah Gerstenfeld and Tami Mays.

The Clemens Crossing Cyclones, directed by head coach Bryan Arnold, will hold their swim-a-thon this Saturday at the Clemens Crossing pool to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

Pub Date: 7/15/98

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