On a warm summer’s day while we were away at our holiday house, we decided to go for a swim at the nearby town of Yarram (in Australia) at the public pool. Arriving with my 3 girls, Kathleen aged 6, Millie 3 & Louise 2, it was 10am and we were the first people to arrive. We had the huge 100 meter pool all to ourselves. A girlfriend was on her way to help me with watching the girls and our husbands were going to arrive a bit later for the fun. Kathleen, being the eldest, and perhaps overly confident from her recent swimming lessons she’d had the month before, decided to race off to the big pool. I watched her hop in the shallow end, a meter deep. With her feet touching the bottom, her head was well above the water. I held onto Louise and told Millie to stay at my side. I had laid our towels and bags down and we were starting to settle.
There were no lifeguards on patrol, but I knew that my girlfriend Noelene was about to arrive and her second set of adults eyes would be very welcome. I watched Kathleen swim around and quickly became concerned when she began to swim across the pool diagonally instead of straight from side to side. Because of the angle she was swimming, I knew the depth of the pool was going to be too deep for her to be able to stand up if she had to stop and catch her breath. I yelled out to her, but she couldn’t hear me. She swam on, and to my horror she stopped to have a rest and tried to stand, and panicked when she found she couldn’t touch the bottom.
I was fully clothed and knew I had to act fast. I quickly grabbed Millie’s hand and told her to look after Louise. I ran to the pool and jumped in, Kathleen flailing around in the centre. I reached her quickly and lifted her up in my arms. She was safe, but her face said it all; she was in shock. As I turned around to check on the girls I’d left behind, I saw they were watching on, dumbfounded by what their mother was doing, jumping in the pool with all her clothes on, including shoes and sunglasses. In hindsight, it probably did look more than a little ridiculous and funny, but, at the time, it certainly wasn’t! I helped Kathleen out and we all sat quietly on our towels for a while. Noelene arrived soon after and stared at me- soaking wet completely through, clothes and all. It was an awful experience. I was so glad that Kathleen was alright, and I think we all learned just how careful you have to be in the water that day.