A MAN who came close to drowning at a Wodonga pool has become friends with his rescuer.
Daniel Ward, 24, was dragged from the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre pool by Kade Boswell last Friday.
Mr Boswell and his friend, Ruben Hancock, had rushed over after noticing him floating in the water.
They performed CPR and put Mr Ward into the recovery position.
A defibrillator was used before paramedics arrived, and Mr Ward was placed in an induced coma.
He continues to recover in hospital and was transported to Melbourne for tests on his heart on Thursday.
Mr Ward has been visited by his rescuer nearly every day since the incident.
“He’s a hero,” he said from his hospital bed.
“I’m eternally grateful.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”
He has little recollection of the incident, which came close to claiming his life, or the lead-up.
“I can’t really remember a lot of what happened on Friday,” he said.
“I can’t remember going into the pool, I just remember waking up in hospital.
“I love going down there to swim, just to get away from it all.
“I can swim lap after lap so I’m not sure what happened.”
Mr Boswell, 20, has a lifesaving licence and has completed a first aid course.
But he said the incident was still stressful.
“It’s panic,” he said of the moments immediately after pulling Mr Ward out of the pool.
“It’s hard to cope.
“You’ve just got to do it, you’ve just got to keep going.
“I went to the doctors on Monday to get some sleeping tablets – I haven’t been able to sleep properly, just from thinking about what occurred.”
Mr Ward said he considers himself to have been very lucky.
He’s not entirely out of the woods, with cardiac tests to determine what’s wrong with his heart.
“My recovery is going well,” Mr Ward said.
“I’m not in tip-top shape, but I’m doing a lot better than I was.
“I just need rest and relaxation.”
The incident, which followed a near-drowning at Harrietville a week earlier, prompted Albury Border Rescue Squad captain Stuart Dye to warn people about the dangers of swimming.