Stephanie Swedberg attends church every Sunday, but on July 21, the 30-year-old mother and her family watched the service online so they could spend the day at Crystal Beach Park in Burnsville, Minnesota. It was a last-minute decision that potentially saved a life.
Swedberg, who is 33 weeks pregnant, was in a lake teaching her 3-year-old twins, Aiden and Declan, how to float, when suddenly, she heard the cries of another mother. She glanced up and saw a fully-clothed woman sprinting into the water.
"Her son — he looked about 11 — was drowning, and I don’t think she knew how to swim," Swedberg told TODAY. "He was thrashing, and his head kept going under under, and she couldn't get to him. For some reason, no one was doing anything."
Swedberg, a former lifeguard, handed her kids off to her sister, and raced 20 yards over to the boy.
“I’ve never swam so fast,” said Swedberg, who is expecting in September. “It’s funny because I can’t even get my pants on these days.”
After Swedberg rescued the boy, he revealed that he has taken three swimming lessons.
“I encouraged him to keep going and said he’d be a good lifeguard because he knows how scary it is to struggle in the water,” she recalled.
Later, the boy's mother said they had recently lost a family member to drowning.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and three kids die every day as a result of drowning.
That's why Swedberg and her husband, Nick, are teaching their sons to swim at a young age.
"When I was 6 years old, I witnessed the death of a 3-year-old girl due to drowning," Swedberg told TODAY. "A tragic event like that leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime. Since witnessing that event, I've always placed an incredible importance on water safety."