OAP stuns hero as she takes an aerobics class after nearly drowning
AN exercise-mad pensioner insisted on doing her aqua aerobics class – a minute after being rescued from drowning by a lifeguard.
Josephine Parker, 73, got into serious difficulty while warming up in the pool and started to sink to the bottom.
Eagle-eyed lifeguard Brendan Fleming hit the drowning alarm, dived in and hauled a spluttering Josephine to the surface.
But he was amazed when the plucky pensioner insisted almost immediately on joining her aerobics class.
The incident happened last week at the John Smith pool, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.
Josephine said: “I decided to go for a swim to loosen up before the aqua aerobics last Monday while I was waiting on the girl coming out who takes the class.
“I was swimming back and forward when suddenly I think I must have swallowed some water.
“I didn’t black out or anything but I started to cough and splutter.”
Josephine heard the drowning alarm in the swimming pool go off and bizarrely thought someone else was in trouble.
“Then I realised it was me and I started panicking,” she said. “I tried to doggie paddle back to the surface.
“I thought I was going to drown.
“The next thing I knew I was being lifted up and helped to the side of the pool by a lifeguard.”
She added: “Brendan took me into the office and gave me a drink of water.
“He asked if I needed a hand to get home and I said, ‘Nope, I’m going to my aerobics’.
“Nothing was going to stop me getting to my class. I try and go every week and have done for years – I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
“I was fine – no injuries, no lasting damage, no problem. I owe it all to the lifeguard though – I’m very grateful.”
Brendan, 34, who has been a lifeguard for ten years, lept into action after keeping a watchful eye on the struggling swimmer.
He said: “I heard coughing in the pool and saw a swimmer in distress.
“I kept an eye on her but she was starting to go under so I jumped in.
“It was all really quick – she went under, I jumped in and I got her out.”
Brendan said he expected that at the very least Josephine would want time to recover and then go home.
“But Josephine just got up and decided to go to her aerobics – she only rested for a minute.
“We could only advise her but nothing was going to stop her – she was confident and nothing was going to change her mind.”
Blane Dodds, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Leisure, said: “Firstly, I am just glad that Josephine is alright and I’m pleased that this incident hasn’t dented her confidence.
“All our leisure attendants are trained to the highest industry standards and undertake regular refresher courses.
“Brendan and the staff at the John Smith pool did a great job.”
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