A group of quick-thinking ironmen and ironwomen have swung into action to save a group of 25 swimmers caught in a rip at Maroubra beach on Sunday.
Competition for Round 4 of the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series had finished and medal presentations were done when the athletes noticed the large group of swimmers struggling in a rip about 100m offshore and 300m south of the competition area.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Ironmen and ironwomen save group of people caught in a rip.
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The reacting group on the sand, made up of about 20 competitors and coaches, all of whom were qualified surf lifesavers, instinctively ran for their boards and rescue tubes before heading straight into the water to help.
They quickly calmed the situation in the surf and stabilised the group while they waited for inflatable rescue boats to arrive.
All of the endangered swimmers were safely returned back to shore and treated by the Maroubra patrol, who found no major injuries.
Lana Rogers, who was the Round 4 winner in the Ironwoman Series, was one of the athletes who helped save the civilians.
“Lucky all of us were here still. About 20 athletes just raced to save the day and there was about 20 or 30 people out there (in trouble). I was also there and lucky we got to the beach safely with all the people,” she said after it happened.
“Classic Maroubra beach — the water is moving quickly and I think people go in swimming thinking they’ll stay in one place and they’re not. The water was moving very quickly and the rip just took them out to sea.”
Lana Rogers was on hand to help make the save, which happened after races were finished for the day. Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Surf Life Saving Australia’s Wayne Druery said surf life-saving was all about being rescue ready.
“Today shows us that, in the blink of an eye, conditions can change and, if surf lifesavers can’t see you, they can’t save you,” Druery said.
“Not only did these swimmers benefit from the great skills of patrolled lifesavers and lifeguards on the beach, but also our elite ironmen and ironwomen.
“Our athletes didn’t hesitate to put their lifesaving training into action and, as a result, all swimmers in trouble were returned safely to their families.”
After four rounds of the series, two-time champion Rogers sits atop the leaderboard on the women’s side, while defending Australian Ironman champion Ali Day holds a slender one-point lead over series champion, Matt Bevilacqua.