11-year-old girls rescue 2 struggling swimmers in Surrey

A group of three 11-year-old friends, who had just finished taking a summer lifeguarding course, are being praised for their quick thinking after pulling two struggling swimmers from the water in Surrey.

Georgia Springate, Kate Hunter and Lily Cox were at Crescent Beach earlier this month jumping off the pier and splashing around in the water when they noticed two women caught up in a current.

“This girl was in the water, I think she was about 20, and her friend had asked us to go help her, so we swam over,” Georgia told CBC’s guest host of On The Coast Gloria Macarenko.

The rescue

One of the girls, Lily, towed the woman to the pier while the other two girls attempted to pull the second swimmer — who was about their age and fully clothed — to safety.

“We tried to help her get to the ladder but the current was too strong,” Georgia said. “So we tried to bring her to the shore and then once she could touch, we swam away.”

The three friends had taken a junior lifeguarding class at Crescent Beach Swim Club this summer and Georgia said they were confident in their skills.

“We just reacted; it was kind of like an instinct,” she said. “It looked like she had been there for a while and the water was pretty cold, so I don’t know if she would have made it on her own.”

pier jumping

The rescue took place at Crescent Beach, where swimmers frequently jump off the pier into the water. (Tamara Rahmani/CBC)

Proud but scared

Georgia’s mother, Cynthia Springate, witnessed the incident.

“As a mother, it was scary in the moment,” Springate said. “This was a dangerous scenario. These girls were starting to bob under the water as our girls approached them, and, at any time, this could have turned into a rescuer-becomes-the-victim.”

Springate said she is proud of the girls but concerned that a rescue was needed at all.

“I was somewhat upset that here were girls who apparently were not being clearly watched by their parents,” she said. “One girl was fully clothed in the water, she was not even prepared for swimming at the time.” she said.

“Those two girls were really lucky that [the three 11-year-olds] were all in the water for them,” Springate added. 

Georgia said she wasn’t afraid at the time. She plans to take more lifeguarding classes next summer.

To hear the interview with Georgia and Cynthia Springate, click on the audio link below.

With files from On The Coast.

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