Pictured: Noble Park Aquatic Centre lifeguards Lochlan Norton (left) and Danielle Begg (right) with Les and Sue Maslin.
Noble Park grandfather Les Maslin has no doubt that the quick action of two young Noble Park Aquatic Centre (NPAC) lifeguards is the reason he is alive today.
The 66 year-old Springvale South resident was enjoying one of his twice weekly lap swimming sessions on the afternoon of 15 March when, without warning, he went into cardiac arrest and lost consciousness.
Lifeguard Danielle Begg immediately removed him from the pool, and with the help of Duty Manager Lochlan Norton, they started resuscitation before emergency services arrived.
“I was so lucky it happened here (at NPAC). The lifeguards are always watching and, when it happened, they immediately knew what to do. Having a defibrillator on site saved my life and I’m still here thanks to (the staff’s) training and action,” he said.
Only 10 weeks after his near-death experience, Les now sports a miniature defibrillator implanted in his chest and is slowly swimming his way back to peak fitness at the centre.
Les’ wife Sue was nearby in Noble Park visiting his elderly mother when the drama unfolded. She received a call from the centre and arrived while her husband’s life-saving treatment was still in progress.
“I used to run a childcare centre so I know first aid, but there was nothing I could do except watch when I got there. The YMCA staff were absolutely unbelievable and kept working on him for 10 minutes until the paramedics arrived and took over,” she said.
During his recovery at Monash Hospital Les was told that in effect, he had a ‘misfiring’ heart and was fitted with the personal defibrillator, which he has nicknamed his ‘hearty-starty’, to monitor and correct any future associated episodes.
Within three weeks he was riding a bike and back swimming at NPAC with the aim of working up to his usual 24-lap sessions in the coming months.
“I always kept pretty fit through my job as a storeman and we started swimming regularly when NPAC opened in 2012. I retired two years ago but Sue and I are always on the go – we are rock and roll dancers too,” laughed the father of two and grandfather of three.
NPAC YMCA Manager Ansie Uys said that while it was always hoped that it would never be needed, the emphasis placed on training staff with life-saving skills was the difference between the positive outcome and tragedy in this case.
“We have numerous training sessions throughout the year to prepare us for how we would respond on the day. The team stayed calm and followed the training step by step. I am incredibly proud of each staff member who assisted and saved Mr Maslin’s life,” she said.
Les and Sue returned to the centre to personally thank Danielle and Lochlan when he was released from hospital and they continue to maintain a close bond with all staff at NPAC.