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Friday 23 February, 2024
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Emma Bassermann and Zoe Ireland-Meklensek rescue UK couple from riptide

BY Anas Shah Jan 19, 2024. 05:47 pm UPDATED: Jan 19, 2024. 05:47 pm

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Earlier this month, two young teenage girls, one of whom aspired to swim in the Olympics, bravely entered a deadly riptide to save a British couple who were about to drown off the coast of Barbados.

The lives of Belinda and Robert Stone, who is roughly twice their size, have been saved by Emma Bassermann, 14, and Zoe Ireland-Meklensek, 13, who are credited with bringing them to land on January 3.

When the Canadian teenagers heard Belinda yelling for assistance at the beach—where there were no lifeguards on duty—they took immediate action.

The couple, both in their sixties, were floating in the ocean on the Barbados beach when they were caught in a violent riptide.

“We swam out, not that far, but far enough to be out of our depth,” Belinda told the Washington Post on Wednesday.

The Londoners, who both consider themselves to be strong swimmers, were vacationing in the area and didn’t realize that area of the beach was known for its riptides.

Emma Bassermann and Zoe Ireland-MeklensekBelinda attempted to swim back to shore against the stream, but quickly realized her husband was not keeping up and was far behind.

The 64-year-old kept swimming toward the beach, screaming for help.

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After a few minutes of ranting, she began to fear the worst and told the Washington Post she was relieved she had “left our wills on the dining room table.”

However, their holiday wouldn’t end in tragedy as Bassermann and Ireland-Meklensek spotted her from 85 feet away and swam over to the Brit.

“I heard their cries in the water,” Ireland-Meklensek told City News.

“Our adrenaline kicked in and everything that we learned came back to us in that moment,” Bassermann, who is training for the Olympics, told the Canadian outlet.

The two Montreal teenagers assisted Belinda onto their boogie board and began swimming parallel to shore to bring her to safety, all while she told them her husband was still out in the sea.

“She said her husband was further out, and he was struggling to swim,” Ireland-Meklensek told the Washington Post. “I instructed her to grab on tight and secured the boogie board tether to my wrist. Emma was by my side, providing comfort.”

After pulling her to land, the two dove back into the ocean, despite Belinda’s warnings that they were too young. The girls brushed it off, explaining that they were in town for a swimming camp and were comfortable in the water.

Emma Bassermann and Zoe Ireland-Meklensek

The ladies swam 165 feet to catch 68-year-old Robert and used their board to bring him to safety, reassuring him that “his wife was okay and he was going to be okay,” Ireland-Meklensek explained.

Despite their experience, the youngsters stated that the second voyage was exhausting since the “current kept pulling me back,” Ireland-Meklensek added, but they were able to escape the dangerous conditions.

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The girls claimed they created a “really good team” afterward, and Belinda was impressed by their “calmness.”

“I do not think that there are many girls like Zoe and Emma. I just cannot get over how serene and poised they both were,” she told the Washington Post. “What an example for other people. These girls were tremendous and so self-effacing.

“They really were like a couple of angels on that beach.”

Both girls have been competitive swimmers for years, with Bassermann now training for the Canadian Summer Olympic swimming trials with her coach, Chuck Meklensek — the father of Ireland-Meklensek.

Ireland-Meklensek stopped competing last year to focus on basketball.

Meklensek said he was “really proud” and “impressed” by the girls’ courage. He also told the Washington Post that he was surprised they could bring a man his size into shore by themselves.

According to Global News, the Quebec Lifesaving Society intends to celebrate the girls for their brave gesture, as well as Ireland-Meklensek’s school.

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