Zoe Meklensek-Ireland and Emma Bassermann were boogie boarding last week on a windy but sunny day in Barbados.
Emma, a competitive swimmer who’s a member of the Dorval swim club, was in Barbados for a 10-day training camp. Her father, Chuck Meklensek, worked as the swim club’s national development coach and had drained her up until last year.
Zoe and her friend were on their way to an afternoon training session when they heard a cry for help.
The 13-year-old immediately looked around and noticed a woman yelling in the distance, approximately 50 feet from her. Zoe quickly ran up to her and was told that her husband was further out in the water and needed help as he struggled to swim.
With her friend Emma’s help, they were able to bring the woman back to shore.
According to the woman, Belinda Shore, who was from London, England, they swam out to the waters not realizing the size of the tides. As soon as they realized they couldn’t make it back to the shore, they yelled for help, hoping to alert a lifeguard.
She admitted the possibility that her cries would go unheard. She even resigned to the fact that “that would be it” if no one heard her. Fortunately for her, however, Zoe heard her calls.
While she was relieved to be back on shore, she was worried about her husband, who was still in the waters about 150 feet away. Stone initially told the teens not to go out into the waters as she was also concerned about their safety.
However, the Barbados resort they were at had no lifeguards on duty and few adults in the area could help.
Realizing they were the only ones who could help her husband, they acted quickly. Grabbing Zoe’s boogie board, the two swam for five to six minutes to reach him.
It was obvious as soon as they reached him that he was struggling. The teens tried to stay as calm as possible as they helped him onto the boogie board.
Strapping the boogie board to her foot, Zoe began to swim back to the shore with Emma’s help. Due to how powerful the current was, they had to swim parallel to the beach until there was a break in the waves.
Emma described it as a ‘long and tiring swim’ but that they managed to do it because she remembered from her parents that you never swim against a strong current.
While the teens managed to get the man back on solid ground, they were concerned that he might need CPR, something that they weren’t trained in. Fortunately, the man regained his composure quickly.
It was only then that the situation sank in for them.
News of their heroic rescue quickly spread across the island. The president of the local youth party even presented Zoe and Emma with an award for their courage and bravery.
Zoe’s father was astonished by the news but later said he was not surprised as they were both powerful swimmers.