Leonard Jansen woke up before his morning workout expecting a tranquil swim in Blue Marsh Lake under great conditions. But he soon became an unexpected hero.

Jansen, who has completed the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York, 17-mile Rose Pitonof Centennial Swim, 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the 8-mile Boston Light Swim, put all his open water swimming experience and endurance to good use.

The 56-year-old mathematician from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania explains how his solo 5-mile training swim turned into an unplanned rescue, “I was doing some open water training that has a turn-around buoy about 1/2 mile up in a secluded arm of the lake. Not too many people go up there, usually just fisherman and kayakers. When I got to the buoy, there was a boat tied to the buoy. I stopped, checked my watch and [greeted] the couple in the boat.”

What started as a simple recognition between marine enthusiasts turned out to be a critically important encounter. “Their engine had died and they were stuck. They had been there for 45 minutes and hadn’t seen anyone to help them. I had them throw me a long rope attached to the bow, I tied it around my waist and then swam them the 1/2 mile out to the main channel of the lake where another boat agreed to give them a tow.”

After his 25-minute rescue, the ever passionate open water swimmer looked forward to the future. Jansen saw additional value to his adventure with the grateful couple. “Since I am a hip-driven swimmer and not an arm-driven swimmer, having my hips encumbered like that forced me to use my arms and I got a pretty stiff resistance workout for my arms. I’d actually like to do something like this as a workout occasionally.”

Swimming advocates say that swimming can save a life. Jansen prove it, twice over.

Positively heroic.

Courtesy of Marathon Swimmers Forum