16-year-old lifeguard credited with saving woman’s life in first week on the job

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A 16-year-old girl working her first week as a certified lifeguard saved the life of a 28-year-old woman who suffered a medical emergency while swimming in a pool in Greensboro, according to WGHP and officials with Guilford County Parks and Recreation.

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Avery Pritchard told WGHP that she was on her sixth day on the job at the Bur-Mil Park Aquatic Center when she noticed a woman in the pool who had her hands around her neck.

“From training, you know the signs of a seizure, or drowning, or other types of stuff,” the teen told WGHP. “You know what to do and it all becomes an instinct.”

Avery said she blew her whistle three times, signaling that she was beginning a lifesaving attempt, before jumping into the water. She told WGHP that she got to the woman in seconds and held her close as she pulled her toward the edge of the pool, where another lifeguard was able to help get her out of the water.

“I’m proud of her,” Matthew Hrubes, a lifeguard of three years who helped in the rescue, told WHBP. “I think she did everything correctly.”

Officials with Guilford County Parks and Recreation praised Avery’s quick thinking in a statement posted Thursday on social media and credited her training, which officials said “made the difference.”

“Safety is our number one priority at all of our Aquatic Centers,” the statement said. “Great job, Avery! We’re so proud of all our lifeguards and the work they do.”

Avery told WGHP that it was because of her training that she felt confident that she knew what she had to do.

“It makes me feel thankful that I was there to be able to save her,” she said.