Joel Dalgarno's transition from game changer to life saver appears to be going swimmingly.
A former lacrosse star with the Port Coquitlam Saints, the newly minted Coquitlam firefighter is being credited with helping to save the life of a drowning woman at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre last Friday.
"She definitely didn't have a pulse and she was cyanotic [had blue skin]," Dalgarno said in an interview Tuesday. "I just started CPR right away and followed the protocols that I have learned with the Coquitlam Fire Department and it worked out really well."
According to PoCo fire chief Nick Delmonico, the incident took place at about 3 p.m., when his crews received a report of a woman submerged in the deep end of the pool.
Dalgarno had just finished playing a game of squash and was headed for the sauna when he heard the lifeguard whistles sounding - a sign that an emergency situation was unfolding.
"The lady did drown and the lifeguards did a great job of getting her out of the water," Dalgarno said. "I was there, so I knew with my firefighting background and with my first aid training, that I kind of wanted to take control of the situation."
Eight months into his new job with Coquitlam Fire and Rescue Services, Dalgarno is well versed in dealing with situations like the one that unfolded last Friday.
And if it weren't for Dalgarno's actions, Friday's incident could have turned out to be much more dire; brain damage or death are the likely outcomes if a body is deprived of oxy-gen for any length of time after the three-or four-minute mark.
"He got a pulse back on her in about 30 seconds after they got her out of the pool, so in some sense, he saved her life," Delmonico said. "Whether somebody else would have done it if he wasn't there I don't know, but it's nice having a trained fireman there who's actually done this before."
Dalgarno said Tuesday he does not know the identity of the woman he saved, though he's been told she's expected to be released from hospital at some point in the next week.
"I'm just really happy that she was able to make it and I think she's doing well, so that's great to hear," he said.
Dalgarno's boss, Coquitlam fire chief Tony Delmonico, described his relatively new recruit as an "excellent firefighter," though he stopped short of saying that the 25-year-old's actions were surprising.
"I think there is sort of an expectation for firefighters to always help out in the community, so it's not unusual," he said.
"There's a great outcome on this one and that's what we hope for, but it's not uncommon for firefighters, all the way from the chief down to the newest recruit, to do that. You do what you can to help people out."
Dalgarno's junior lacrosse career with the Saints lasted from 2005 to 2007, when he amassed 135 points in 45 games.
He then went on to achieve All-American status during his collegiate career at the University of Ohio.
Though he took the past year off of competitive lacrosse to join the Coquitlam Fire Department, he's expected to suit up with the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League for the 2013 season.