2018 Media Releases

Willoughby Leisure Centre lifeguard awarded Lifeguard of the Year for heroic save

25 June 2018


The bravery and level headedness of Willoughby Leisure Centre lifeguard Clayton Smith in saving a drowning pre-schooler was recognised this week when he was awarded the prestigious Royal Life Saving Society NSW Lifeguard of the Year award.

Clayton pulled two year old Kate Pszczonka from the busy pool when she became separated from her mother. His diligence and quick thinking saved the little girl’s life.

Kate’s mother Krystal Pszczonka commended Clayton for his actions saying, 

“Clayton believes that he was carrying out his every day duties by rescuing Kate but I believe that for Clayton’s age, the professional manner in which he acted was above and beyond his role and experience….he is an inspiration and role model for his peers.”

Kate not only went on to make a full recovery but returned to her regular swimming class the following week without hesitation.

The Royal Life Saving Society NSW Lifeguard of the Year award, presented in a ceremony on 18 June, recognises the commitment and dedication of pool lifeguards throughout Australia - their skills, level of training and service.

Royal Life Saving Society NSW, General Manager Aquatics, Matt Griffiths said, 

“The Lifeguard of the Year award is considered the state’s highest honour. In Clayton’s case it was his reaction to the incident, his perception and awareness that made him stand out - it is well deserved.”

Willoughby Leisure Centre is owned and operated by Willoughby City Council and is one of Willoughby's most valued facilities, providing aquatic facilities and services, health club facilities and sports courts to the community.

The 25 metre pool is open daily for lane swimming, aqua classes and children’s activities. Royal Life Saving Society trained lifeguards attend the pool at all times.

The Swim School offers swimming classes for children from six months to adults seven days a week. All classes are taught with AUSTSWIM qualified instructors and the Swim School is an AUSTSWIM, Swim Australia and Royal Life Saving Society Registered organisation. 

Media Contact
Acting Marketing and Events Manager
Phone: 9777 7703
Mobile: 0455 061 700
Email: Samantha.Connor@Willoughby.nsw.gov.au 

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au