Michigan High School Swimmer Xavier Staubs Rescues Opponent

Photo Courtesy: Mary Pruden

While rivalries are intense at all levels of sports, there is something unique about a classic high school match-up. Regardless of where the schools are, high school rivalries bring out the best – and sometimes the worst – in both teams.

But for Corunna and Owosso High Schools in Michigan, the schools notably hold a unique sense of community. Their bond was strengthened even more at their Jan. 4 competition when Corunna freshman Xavier Staubs noticed Owosso junior Kamrin Samson face down and still in the water.

According to Michigan Live, Samson was sinking to the bottom of the pool at the conclusion of the 200 medley relay, a race Staubs also competed in. The article explains that fans started signaling to the pool deck that something was wrong.

“I just automatically help people,” Staubs told ABC12 News. “That’s how I was raised. I didn’t care if it was a rival or anything, I just saw someone needed help and I instantly thought, ‘I got to save this guy.’ My eyes were burning as I was doing this. I clawed to the bottom of the pool, lifted him up with one arm, pushed him to the surface and raised him to the surface with one arm.”

Corunna teammate Grant Warner, a certified lifeguard, helped Staubs bring Samson to the surface. According to Owosso coach Mike Gute, he and former medical professionals then took over.

“Kamrin had the right people there at the time to take care of him,” Gute said. “I’m a retired police officer, firefighter. The gentleman that helped me is a retired firefighter and EMT. My wife was in the stands. She’s a pediatric intensive care nurse. There was also another nurse on scene, so actually it went very well. People knew what to do with a situation like that.”

Corunna Athletic Director Nicole Norris had called emergency services, and Samson was then taken to the local hospital by his parents. He was released that night.

Owosso Athletic Director Dallas Lintner explained his understanding that Samson was not breathing for about one minute. He maintained a pulse, and is thought to have held his breath too long in the relay. He said the swimmer had some water in his lungs.

Both athletic directors credited their aquatic athletes for their knowledge of water safety. Both schools have many students who are also trained lifeguards. They were both proud of how their teams handled the situation, as was Gute:

“There’s always this competition no matter what sport it is, but really our communities are three to four miles apart. And even though there’s that rivalry, there’s a friendship,” he said. “And even though, you know, no matter what the outcome was of any event that we have, when people need help, good people step forward, and that’s what life is all about.”

Samson has since returned to school and does not remember the events in their entirety.

MichiganLive.com and ABC12 News contributed to this report. 

6 Comments

6 comments

  1. Carrie Hall

    Great job, Xavier! Thank you for your quick actions.

  2. Karen Smith

    Wow. Alan Hascall, if I never thanked you years ago, THANK YOU. <3

  3. Susan Marburger Shannon

    Wonderful! It sounds like this could have been caused by Shallow Water Blackout. Please educate your swimmers about it!

    • Natalie Lau

      I just got recertified and my course leader really emphasized that part. It’s so important when you watch meets!

Author: Diana Pimer

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Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is currently an Age Group Coach at AGUA in New York City and has covered major competitions for Swimming World including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 and 2017 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming Nationals and more.

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