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Lifeguards Honored

July 21st, 2017 by WCBC Radio

The YMCA of Cumberland honored four Rocky Gap Lifeguards with Certificates of Merit on June 26, 2017. The guards – Angelo Contaldi, Austin Hueg, Habtamu Anderson and Zach Ellsworth – rescued a distressed swimmer, Carol Everhart of Swanton, during the swim portion of the 30th Annual YMCA of Cumberland Rocky Gap Triathlon and 3rd Annual Duathlon held at Rocky Gap State Park on June 4, 2017. “These guards are to be commended for their quick response to the signals Carol exhibited while swimming. They took their knowledge and training to the next level and we appreciate their alertness and dedication to saving Carol’s life.” shares Chris Anthony, Aquatics Director of the Cumberland Y and a spotter on the shore of Lake Habeeb on June 4th.  “These guys are my heroes and angels. Without their precise intervention and keen attention I would not be here today.” Carol Everhart said. “I am so grateful to them and the training they received that saved my life.”


Everhart had trained and prepared for the sprint triathlon. “I had increased my running to 30 miles per week, biking to 20-25 miles and had incorporated pool swimming as well as open water swims in Hawaii the week before the event.” she shared.


 “I felt well prepared and was not anxious the morning of the event. I began the swim and noticed some shortness of breath and wheezing rounding the first marker. I continued swimming to the second marker with increased shortness of breath and more wheezing. Rounding the marker, I kept telling myself ‘You can do THIS. Don’t stop NOW. You can SEE the shoreline. You are almost THERE.’ I would have never given up and quit…it’s just not in me. I was determined to finish the swim. Between the last two markers, I lost sight of the shoreline and marker. I yelled to the guards in the boat that I could not see the marker. They instructed me to keep swimming straight. That’s the last thing I remember.”


“The lifeguards were watching me closely and responded quickly when they yelled to me and I didn’t answer. I was completely unresponsive at that point. I was taken to shore and transported to the hospital barely clinging to life. I spent three days in the hospital with a final diagnosis of ‘Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema.’ According to literature, this occurs in 1.4% of triathlon participants. I had some underlying risk factors that created the perfect storm. My message to all athletes is to listen to your body. We are not invincible…no matter how hard we train.”


“I am on the road to recovery and back to doing what I love – running and biking. I’ll keep my feet firmly planted on solid ground for now (no swimming at the moment). I know I was in God’s hands that day; there is no other explanation. I thank the event coordinators for the excellent preparation and safety measures implemented. I would not be here without the team in the water and on the ground.” she concludes.




The YMCA of Cumberland is a non-profit organization that strengthens the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Anchored in our community for more than 120 years, the YMCA of Cumberland has a long-standing relationship and physical presence not just to promise, yet to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Contact YMCA of Cumberland at 301-777-9622, and follow us on facebook – Cumberland YMCA

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