Do you know how to spot a swimmer in distress? - WSMV Channel 4

Do you know how to spot a swimmer in distress?

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

Summer fun can turn tragic in an instant. It only takes a few seconds for a day in the water to turn deadly.

But do you think it would be obvious to recognize when someone is drowning? Not always.

Matt Oberbreckling teaches lifeguards how to spot a swimmer in distress.

First, he says when a swimmer is in trouble, they won't have enough air to call for help.

"While they are holding their breath or trying to get themselves above water, you can see it on their face that they are in trouble," said Oberbreckling.

Distressed swimmers use their energy to try and stay above water, so you won't see them waving their arms for help.

"Normally an active drowning victim will be bobbing. Their head will be going up and under, up and under," said Oberbreckling.

Also, look for swimmers who appear stuck.

"As a distressed swimmer comes into play, they will lose horizontal nature of body and become more diagonal. Their forward progress will be limited," said Oberbreckling.

If someone is in trouble don't jump into the water.

"If you go the route of going into the water, you put yourself at risk. You could get into trouble and then there is no one to help. A rule of thumb is to reach or throw, don't go," said Oberbreckling.

Throw something like a pole or a cooler, anything that floats, to the person who is drowning.

And you should know what to do when you get the swimmer out of the water. CPR skills are a must to save someone who may have taken water into their lungs.

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