VU staff nominated for Life Saving Victoria Award

Staff from VU Aquatic Centre Taylah Daffy, Ian Pearce, Luke McCartney, Jeff Schwarz, Mimi Craig, Patrick Tam, along with Christian Petersen, Logan Patterson (not pictured) have been nominated for a Life Saving Victoria award.
VU staff have been nominated for a Life Saving Victoria Award
Monday 9 October 2023

On an ordinary day earlier this year, Anish Sathyan took a break from his busy schedule to do some laps at the Victoria University’s (VU) Aquatic and Fitness Centre.  

The Agile Squad Coach from VU’s ITS division remembers getting into the water, and very little else. But much of what took place after is unlikely to be forgotten by the quick-acting individuals who happened to be working on that day.    

As a long-time member of the gym and a regular lunchtime swimmer, Anish was friends with many of the staff. Coincidentally, Mimi Craig (Sports Facilities Co-ordinator) was in her office talking with colleague Luke McCartney (Operations Officer) about the possibility of selling Anish a piece of exercise equipment when the emergency radio call came in.    

VU student Logan Patterson was in the pool and witnessed the moment Anish lost consciousness and grabbed him before he went under the water. Lifeguard Patrick Tam reacted quickly and alerted staff of a major emergency.    

Patrick and Jeff Schwarz (Aquatic Programs Supervisor) removed Anish from the water using a spinal board. Mimi assessed that he was not breathing and began CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) while Christian Petersen attached the defibrillator. The team also administered oxygen, while Luke made the call to triple zero and relayed information to emergency services. Additional staff also arrived quickly, and Taylah Daffy and Ian Pearce managed the evacuation of all other patrons in the pool and gym area and ensured emergency services were directed to the location.    

“I recognised  Anish immediately. In these types of circumstances, you don’t always have access to any prior medical information, you’re trained to work with the signs and symptoms of the patient. Eventually Anish was breathing again. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief – we'd got him back and thankfully he continued to breathe,” said Mimi.    

Emergency services, including Police, Fire, MICA (Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance) Units arrived and took Anish to hospital where he was placed in an induced coma for three days. Later the Emergency services praised the outstanding work of all involved.    

Anish has since returned home, but his recovery will take time. “I wouldn’t be alive today if those people weren’t there to help me. If I had been anywhere else, at my desk, or driving... I would not have been so lucky. I can’t thank them enough for what they did.”    

Rohenna Young, Sports Facilities Manager, said she was incredibly proud of the actions of all involved. “The staff did everything right. The training kicked-in, they worked as a team, they communicated brilliantly and did all they could to ensure Anish had the best possible chance of surviving the incident.”    

VU’s Aquatic Centre is recognised by Life Saving Victoria as a Platinum Pool, which means the centre has the highest level of safety and compliance. Only 43 out of 550 pools across Victoria have earned the distinction.    

Each year, Life Saving Victoria holds an aquatic industry summit with guest speakers and panel discussions, along with the Everyday Lifesaver Award. This year’s nominations include: The VU Sport team of Mimi Craig, Jeff Schwarz, Luke McCartney, Patrick Tam, Taylah Daffy, Christian Petersen, Ian Pearce and Logan Patterson, and Anish are looking forward to attending the event and hopes VU are successful.    

Rohenna and the team are proud of the nomination. “It’s so fantastic to have their skills recognised, but we all feel the same way – knowing that Anish is on the road to recovery is what matters.”    

Winners of the Life Saving Victoria Award will be announced at an industry event on Tuesday 10 October at The Timber Yard Function Centre in Port Melbourne.    

Every day, around 20 Victorians suffer medical emergencies but only one in 10 survive. As part of VU’s Thrive campaign, staff are welcome to sign up for Resuscitate a Mate, a free class on what to do in a medical emergency.

Find more information for VU staff