Two local lifeguards who saved a 12-year-old boy from drowning at a Bethesda pool were honored over the weekend for their life saving work under pressure.
On May 29, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services got multiple 911 calls from the the Little Falls Swim Club (5001 Little Falls Dr.) reporting a drowning.
By the time crews from the Glen Echo Fire Station, Bethesda Fire Station and Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad arrived, Battalion Chief Jim Resnick said lifeguard Abigail Baruch Fry and pool manager Colleen Hamm had rescued the boy from the bottom of the 12-foot deep diving well and conducted CPR. The boy was awake, alert and talking when first responders took him to Children’s Hospital for a follow-up evaluation.
He left the hospital shortly after the incident and is actually in the middle of swimming lessons.
On Saturday at the Swim Club, Resnick and MCFRS officials honored Fry and Hamm for their efforts.
“It was a pretty interesting day. Obviously no one expects that to happen,” said Hamm, 23, who grew up at the pool and has worked there for eight years. “I guess the lesson is not to take lifeguarding lightly.”
The pool will now require swim tests for any swimmer who wants to go in the deep end. Fry, a rising junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, was the lifeguard on duty who rescued the boy from the bottom of the pool.
“It’s exactly what they were trained for, but in any type of emergency situation, you can train and train and train, but being able to execute and execute it perfectly is what this was all about,” said Resnick in a ceremony that included the lifeguards’ parents and pool members. “We could not be prouder of either of you.”
There are about 3,500 unintentional, non-boating related drownings per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most involve children. Last summer, a 7-year-old girl at the River Falls Community Center pool in Potomac nearly drowned.