She might have been on a holiday in Puerto Rico, but Jean Pendrich’s responsibility as a swimming teacher still took priority above all else. The sixty-year-old from Sidcup, London, put her own life on the line when she plunged into the choppy Caribbean Sea to aid a drowning 13-year-old boy.

It was her husband that noticed the incident first while they were laying on the beach relaxing. He spotted two people approximately fifty metres out to sea and they were drifting closer towards the rocks. In fact, two lifeguards also spotted the incident. They rushed towards the shore and started to blow their whistles in order to attract both of the individual’s attention. However, neither of the lifeguards made an attempt to dive in to help the two at sea. This prompted Jean to step up and get involved.

“I had to dive through the waves – I couldn’t swim on them as they were three to four foot high. I just kept swimming as fast as I could and when I reached him, he was in major shock,” she stated. Eventually, she managed to grab the boy, Derek Becker, with her right hand and told him to continue breathing. “He was hyper-ventilating and kept going under. We were getting pushed nearer to the rocks and I kept telling him to kick his legs,” she added. Derek’s mother and grandmother were both among the crowds of people watching the heroic rescue from the shoreline.

The following day, Jean wanted to understand the reason for the lifeguards not diving in to help. As she spoke with the lifeguards, she found out that the reason they were hesitant to dive and swim into the ocean was because a 13-year-old boy had passed away earlier in the year after he was being washed out to sea. When Jean returned back to her hometown in Sidcup, she received an email from Kimberly, Derek’s mother. In the email, it wrote “I will never forget Jean and the brave, heroic feet she performed that day. She has saved my family from tragedy.” For the full story, you can read it here.

Being able to save a life grants you an extremely rewarding feeling. However, in order for you to do so, a set of skills are required. At Happy Fish Swim School, we offer Singaporean swimmers an opportunity to further their skills via our Lifesaving Course. In all, there are 5 stages to complete: Lifesaving 1, 2 and 3, followed by the Bronze Medallion and CPR Certification courses.