High school swimmers live for rivalries. I saw that first-hand as a high school swimmer myself.
Mentioning a previous loss to or a perfect record against a rival high school is sometimes the most effective way to motivate swimmers to try faster intervals, work harder in dryland, or even go to bed earlier and get their homework done on time. Yet no matter how bitter a rivalry may appear, it is nearly impossible not to develop feelings of camaraderie for those who push us to give our very best.
Owosso High School and Corunna High School, both located west of Flint, Michigan, have such a rivalry, and at their duel meet last week the two teams were brought closer by an event that could have ended in tragedy.
As the 200 medley relay was wrapping up, Corunna freshman Xavier Staubs noticed a couple of parents in the stands frantically trying to draw attention to Owosso junior Kamrin Samson who was unconscious and sinking.
Staubs, who had already removed his goggles, swam to the bottom of the pool, positioned himself underneath Samson, and then used one arm to push Samson towards the surface.
Staubs recalled the rescue in an interview with local news station ABC12:
“My eyes were burning as I was doing this. I clawed to the bottom of the pool, lifted him up with one arm, pushed him to the surface and raised him to the surface with one arm.”
Staubs was then aided by teammate Grant Warner, a lifeguard, and together the two teenagers brought Samson to the side of the pool. Owosso head coach Mike Gute and another man then pulled Samson onto the pool deck.
Gute, a retired police officer, and the other man, a retired firefighter and EMT, called on their years of experience to keep Samson alive until the ambulance arrived. In an interview with MLive, Owosso Athletic Director Dallas Lintner said, “He (Samson) was not breathing for about a minute. He still had a pulse but was not breathing.”
The cause of Samson’s near-drowning isn’t fully known, but Lintner believes it had to do with Samson trying to hold his breath for too long. As Lintner told MLive, “From what I understand, he’s not entirely remembering everything but the thinking of those that were there was he might have held his breath a little too long during his leg of the relay. He had some water in his lungs.”
Samson was taken to the hospital but discharged and allowed to return home later that night. Samson, who is in his first season of competitive swimming, says he will continue swimming and competing for Owosso.