Drowning man saved by Olympic swimmer on nearby beach

'I just did what I had to do,' says Filippo Magnini

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 09 July 2019 13:53 BST
Filippo Magnini won gold at the World Championships in 2005 and 2007
Filippo Magnini won gold at the World Championships in 2005 and 2007 (Getty)

A drowning man was rescued by an Olympic swimmer after he got into trouble off a beach in Sardinia.

Italian former world champion Filippo Magnini leapt into the water when he heard cries for help, local media reported.

Andrea Benedetto and his husband – who had wed just two days earlier – were on an inflatable off the shore of Cala Sinzias when Mr Benedetto fell into the water on Sunday.

Friends of the 45-year-old shouted for help, and nearby lifeguards set off towards the pair.

But Mr Magini, 37, was closer and managed to keep Mr Benedetto’s head above the water until the lifeguards arrived.

“I just did what I had to do,” Mr Magnini told Italy’s Corriere Dello Sport.

“The bather was in a lot of trouble. He was quite frightened, he was really stuck and had swallowed some seawater.

“When I reached him he wasn’t even able to speak, and it wasn’t easy to lift him on to the raft, so we laid him on an airbed that some other bathers had nearby.”

Mr Benedetto was treated at the scene by a doctor and taken to hospital.

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Mr Magnini won gold in the 100m freestyle at the World Championships in 2005 and 2007.

He was also in Italy’s 4x200m freestyle relay team, which won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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