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Young Surf Life Saving star, Olivia Edwards has shown wisdom and skill beyond her years, highlighting the importance of understanding your limits in difficult conditions after she rescued a struggling swimmer on the Central Coast.

The 14-year-old Umina SLSC member noticed the elderly lady in distress on the morning of Thursday, 9 September and called on her experience to secure and kick the lady back in to shore.

“I’ve been swimming most mornings in lockdown to keep fit, usually with my friend, and on this day we had finished and caught a wave in but I heard a lady calling out. I could see she was struggling in a rip,” she said.

“I swam out to her, and she asked for my help, so I grabbed her under the shoulders and kicked her in to shore.

“She was probably 30 metres out, so after a bit we could stand again, and my friend was able to assist in helping me to walk her in.

“By that stage she was very fatigued.”

Indeed, Olivia noted the adverse conditions for inexperienced swimmers and was quick to point out that swimmers need to be conscious of their ability and avoid taking risks when conditions aren’t ideal.

“The lady said she swam a lot of mornings but not really in those types of conditions,” Olivia said.

“It was certainly a bit windy and overcast – it made the swell big.

“I think my biggest thing was just to keep calm and not stress, that was the main thing.”

In doing just that – staying calm and composed when the situation required it – Olivia played an enormous role in preventing what could have been a terrible accident.

Even more impressive, however, is that it was her first rescue, though her actions and poise under pressure suggest otherwise.

Having been involved in Surf Life Saving for more than six years, Olivia has plenty of skills and ocean experience, but it’s competing that she loves the most.

“I think the competitiveness of everything and the people and the community, that’s what brings you back,” she said.

“I do it with a lot of friends, but I also do it for myself – it makes you feel good.”

Thursday 23 September 2021