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Teen Swimmers Turn Into Lifesavers on Vacation: Unforgettable Rescue Story



Quick Smiles:

  • Two Canadian teens, Emma Bassermann and Zoe Meklensek-Ireland, saved a British couple from drowning in Barbados.
  • The girls, who are competitive swimmers, were able to use their skills and boogie boards to rescue the couple caught in a riptide.
  • The local youth democratic party president presented the girls with an award for their bravery.

Two Montreal teens, Emma Bassermann and Zoe Meklensek-Ireland, were just enjoying a day at the beach in Barbados when they heard a cry for help. These girls, both competitive swimmers, didn’t hesitate to jump into action.

Emma, 14, and Zoe, 13, had been boogie boarding on the south shore of Barbados as part of a training camp. Zoe, who dreams of making the Olympic trials with her father as her coach, was the first to hear the distress call.

“I heard someone yelling for help in the distance. I was looking around for her and I spotted her and she was about 50 feet out from where I was,” Zoe shared with Global News. The person in distress was Belinda Stone, a British vacationer who had been caught in a riptide with her husband Robert.

Without wasting a moment, Zoe and Emma sprang into action. They quickly got Belinda to shore, but Robert was still out there, struggling against the current. Despite Belinda’s pleas not to risk their lives for her 60-year-old husband, the girls knew they were the most experienced swimmers on the beach that day.

Armed with their boogie boards and a deep understanding of how to navigate a riptide, the girls embarked on a 6-minute swim to reach Robert. They loaded the exhausted man onto the board and began the long swim back to shore, moving parallel to the beach until they were out of the riptide.


Their bravery and skill were celebrated not just by the grateful British couple, but also by the president of the local youth democratic party, who presented the girls with an award for their heroism.

Zoe’s father, Chuck Meklensek, expressed immense pride in his daughter’s actions.

He also emphasized the importance of children learning to swim, stating, “My feeling is every child should be doing swimming until at least age 10 or even 12. If the boat tips over, you want to swim to shore, these girls know how to swim to shore and pull someone in. It’s the only sport that is a life-or-death sport and they learned it really well.”

These two young heroes have certainly shown us the power of swimming skills and the courage to act in the face of danger. Let’s celebrate their bravery and spread their inspiring story far and wide!