'I died for three minutes' says swimmer who was brought back to life in the pool at Brackley Leisure Centre

A swimmer from Brackley said the quick actions of lifeguards and members of the public saved his life when he went into full cardiac arrest while swimming.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 11:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 11:34 am
Brackleys life-saving team Tom Ocleary, Sam Jordan, Ben Castle, Amber Etcell and Ben Hughes.
Brackleys life-saving team Tom Ocleary, Sam Jordan, Ben Castle, Amber Etcell and Ben Hughes.

The incident happened at Brackley Leisure Centre in November but the person, who has asked to remain anonymous, has spoken about it a month later to day thank you his lifesavers.

He said: "The doctors told me I had died for three minutes, that’s why the speed of the people who helped was so important.

"If I been anywhere else, out in town or driving a car, anywhere without trained people and a defib, I wouldn’t be here today.

"To say thanks seems hollow, but I am incredibly grateful."

His partner described how the incident unfolded.

She said: “I was in the pool swimming towards the shallow end and I saw a group of people and thought someone must be having difficulties and I need to go over and help.

"I couldn’t believe it when I saw who it was, he’s a strong swimmer, runs, plays tennis and cycles, we’re both here quite often.

"Then the panic kicked in. It’s a cliché, but everything was in slow motion. I heard someone say, ‘there’s no pulse and he’s not breathing.’ I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

"That’s when it all kicked in, the CPR, the defibrillator, all their training came in to play.

"One shock of the defib and his eyes gradually fluttered open and he was back!

"And I must pay tribute to everyone in the pool, members of the public, they were brilliant, and we’ve kept in touch with some of them."

The leisure centres in South Northants are operated by Legacy Leisure on behalf of South Northamptonshire Council (SNC).

Legacy Leisure’s Centre Manager Sam Jordan said in ten years working in leisure centres, this had been the first poolside cardiac arrest he had seen.

He said: “They don’t happen often, that’s why it’s important to train regularly in case it does. Especially considering they are a young team, Tom who reacted first is only 18 years old.

"Every month they train in CPR and with defibs, they are not allowed to work if they don’t complete it."

Cllr Karen Cooper, SNC’s portfolio holder for wellbeing, said: “This gentleman was out of hospital within a week and doctors have said his quick recovery is due to his active lifestyle. I would urge others to learn from his example.

"I would also like to pay tribute to Sam and his team at Brackley Leisure Centre, they have demonstrated the skills, good practice and character we expect to be in place as a local authority on behalf of residents.”