Woman drowns in pool at YMCA - Attempts to Revive Victim Futile


Each year, about 1,500 young people drown in the U.S. As we all know, a drowning can occur nearly anywhere. Yet, the natural inclination is to believe that one will not happen in our own community, especially at our own camp. Awareness of the threat's reality is critical. Reinforcing proven prevention strategies is an essential element in protecting the kids in our programs. Both are the goals for our “Aquatic Alert” program. Each is a brief treatment of the topic, focussing on a real, recent, public event, gleaned from the media… reprinting the published article in its entirety (omitting names and identifying references to the organization) and providing a few important teaching points for you to share with your staff. As always, if you need additional guidance on this topic, please call us at 800-463-8546.


WEST COAST CITY, 08/05/2003: A 59-year-old [neighboring city] woman drowned Monday morning in a pool at the YMCA on [location] in [city]. [Victim] was found drifting face-down in a shallow pool by an on-duty lifeguard. Police do not believe foul play was involved.

The lifeguard administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and abdominal compressions, but found no pulse, said [name], a YMCA spokeswoman. A swim instructor called 911 shortly after 9 a.m. Paramedics took the woman to [name] Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, said Lt. [name].

“Our hearts go out to her family,” said [YMCA spokeswoman], who added that the woman had been a regular user of the pool for about two years.

The woman was apparently doing aquatic exercises in the 5-foot-deep pool, said YMCA Associate Executive Director [name]. The two pools at the YMCA, opened in 1995, have a spotless safety record, he said.

What we don’t know:

  • anything significant about the incident…

    • whether she was exercising alone or as part of a class or group
    • how long she was “drifting” before being discovered
    • where the lifeguard(s) was (were) when she began experiencing trouble
    • what the lifeguard(s) was (were) doing at the time she began to experience trouble
  • anything significant about the victim

    • health
    • physical characteristics (height, weight, limitations)

What we do know:

  • the victim had been a regular user of the facility for the last two years

  • the pool is a shallow-water pool (i.e., 5’ deep or less)

  • the article says she drowned… no indication is given of physical or medical trauma

  • the organization did express public concern for the victim’s family

What we must remember:

  • vigilance is always necessary…

  • drowning is not restricted to children

  • drowning is not restricted to special events

  • drowning is not restricted to those unfamiliar with the pool or unknown to the guards

  • it is one thing for someone to die in our pool because of a medical event… it is quite another for someone to drown in our pool, whatever the initial source of trouble

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about JCC risk management issues.


Submit a comment