Huegill was on a rigid inflatable boat with two other men when they were flagged down by the vessel carrying the diver. (www.news.com.au)
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson pondered about this story in that should have Huegill or any other swimmer of note had been called upon to dive to assist in a rescue, would their swimming experience have been of 'rescue benefit' in that they might be able to hold their breath for seconds longer.
Dives are not associated solely in the ocean sightseeing colourful fish. There are sunk former Naval Vessels which are carefully placed for dive exercises and pleasure. The Great Barrier Reef has innumerable dive situations. Caves are another dive experience as are some rivers. The diving industry is 'no small fish' so to speak!
Some of these have all the professional equipment required and approved for dives, however there is a vast array of dives, akin to snorkelling, where such equipment is neither required nor sought. It is to this area of 'free diving' that is immediate issue which includes ocean darting. (en.wikipedia.org)
Mark Tronson says that it is not a far-stretch to paint a scenario. A dive goes wrong, and whatever practical mechanism is utilised to alert that something is wrong and that urgent help is required, someone goes to their aid.
Swimming and breath control has a significant amount of literature associated with it. Some consider that training at a high altitude is not unlike training holding your breath. (swimming.about.com)
Yet there is ample evidence that prolonged swimming underwater and breath holding is a dangerous practice that can lead to drowning regardless of how many generations have practised this in swimming training. (grandparents.about.com)
There are even videos to demonstrate the art of holding one's breath under water as its deemed such a crucial part of such extreme sports. (wwwlivestrong.com)
It seems that exhaling when underwater is the most important technique. The trick it seems is to get used to exhaling into the water and feel relaxed doing it. (www.swimsmooth.com)
Dive rescue is something else again, and it is here there is ample information on professional dive rescue but little on 'free dive' rescue. (en.wikipedia.org)
There is however a very practical YouTube demonstration on free dive rescue which might be very helpful to anyone in the diving scene. (www.youtube.com)
There are also professional free dive rescue schools which can equip those involved in such sports. www.pssworldwide.org
Mark Tronson says that in Australia these subjects are very important as every summer we hear of people on dives who have lost their lives. However, having said that, he has not found any scientific data that might illustrate that a top line swimmer who is able to hold their breath longer, is as helpful as someone who is professionally trained in free dive rescue.
Wired Science has done some work on this as illustrated by none other than the Mythbusters. This in itself is of interest. (www.wired.com)
Australia has a swimming culture. Children learn to swim at very early ages and whereas most enjoy swimming and many do tourist snorkelling and fun surfing, there are those elites who become top line swimmers and professional divers. Perhaps Proverbs 8 verse 33 is the right place to look: "Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not".
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html