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Skyline High School swimmer helps save life at state swim meet

Claire Keller, a junior at Skyline. (Granite School District)

HEBER CITY, Utah — A Utah swimmer at the high school state swim meet helped save a life in between her races.

Skyline High School junior Claire Keller just finished swimming one event and was sitting with her team when she looked over and saw a man who was blue and purple.

It was a coach on another team.

Keller is a trained lifeguard at the Holladay Lions Rec Center. She felt like the lifeguard there by the pool needed help with the situation when she saw that she didn’t activate an emergency action plan.

“I’m really glad I was there to help out. When I got over there, the lifeguard seemed nervous. She was doing compressions but said he had a pulse. I said, let’s start over, check for a pulse, check for breathing,” said Keller.

She went to look for the crash bag at the Wasatch Aquatic Center, but couldn’t find one. So they did jaw thrusts on the man as he lay on the ground.

“It’s when you push their jaw forward and pull their head back. It opens up their throat area to breathe easier,” explained Keller.

The man eventually spit out some gum. But she also believes he was having a seizure.


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Keller says EMS arrived, the man began breathing and received medical attention at the hospital. She has heard that he is doing okay now.

After all of that, she had to go swim another event. It was the 100 backstroke. Her adrenaline was going strong but she says she crashed right before her race, and didn’t swim her best. But she had already reached a personal best in the prelims and was happy with that.

Keller says she hopes people learn from this experience that it’s good to know some basic first aid.

“It happens in the weirdest places, you know? State swim team, a completely healthy guy with chewing gum in his throat. It happens in the weirdest places, and it’s really important to know what to do,” she said.

And if you haven’t taken first aid or CPR classes, you can still help save a life.

“If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, just stay calm. Listen to the 911 operator. That’s the biggest thing, just listen,” she said.

By the way, Keller not only made state with the Skyline swim team, she also went to state with tennis. Now she is on the varsity girls team as they start their season. And she is in the IB program. She’s starting to look at where she’ll go to college.

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