Great stories happen daily at the YMCA

Published 6:03 am Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It has been nearly 18 months ago since YMCA Associate Executive Director Liv Warren was working at her desk on a busy Tuesday morning in July 2010.

The incoming phone lines were busy ringing as parents were calling in order to sign their children up for summer camp or swimming lessons. After several rings, she took one such call and it was a parent calling who desperately wanted her son to have swimming lessons by Thursday. There was no way with the summer schedules that she could find a certified guard/instructor to teach lessons on such a short notice.

After telling the parent that her request would simply not be possible within a 48 hour period, she then began to tell Liv that the reason immediate lessons were needed by Thursday was because her 11-year-old son was going to a swim party on that day and he needed to pass a swim test. She further explained that his buddies were making fun of him, because he couldn’t pass the swimming requirements and she needed help from the YMCA.

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Feeling bad for him, Liv told the mother to bring him that afternoon and she would work with him. She could not come then, so they agreed on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. The young man came and Liv (who is also the YMCA aquatics instructor) worked with him for about 30 minutes.

She felt confident that he could, at that point, pass the swim test, so they went to the far side of the pool. He would need to swim the length of the pool to pass and Liv was going to go with him, so he could have a little encouragement and support. There were a few young men at the end of the Y pool and she walked down to tell them to cheer and provide moral support if the young swim student made it on this first attempt.

If she had not answered the phone the day prior, it would have been most unlikely that Liv would have even been at the pool that day! A day that changed her life forever …

The tennis coach had already asked if the kids in tennis camp could swim after they were finished playing tennis and Liv had agreed, so the tennis kids were all entering the pool and now swimming. As the young swim student was getting ready to swim the length of the pool, the lifeguard on duty located on the other side of the pool hollered, “Ms. Liv, I can’t get her!”

Liv doesn’t remember much about the next few minutes, except being there when the little girl was laid on the deck, thanks to the quick response from the Y lifeguard and the tennis coach who was nearby. The coach was able to pull the young swimmer’s arm out of a small “hose connection hole,” and with help from the Y-guard, laid her on the deck for care.

Liv was telling a second guard to call 911, and at that point she began CPR. Without a doubt in her mind, God was on the Y pool deck that eventful day! The little girl had no pulse and was not breathing, yet by the time 911 arrived the first thing they reported was “she has a pulse.” The young swimmer stayed in the hospital a few days, which became the longest few days of Liv’s life! She took her young victim survivor a cross necklace on that Sunday in July and one year later the young swimmer brought Liv an angel charm, that she will keep forever.

Thanks to rapid response by all involved and special blessings from above, the young swimmer is fine today.

Meanwhile, many lives were changed that Wednesday in July … all for the best.

The YMCA encourages you to tell your Y story by viewing our website at

Mike Haynes is the interim CEO of the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.