Challengers Dragon Boat team members help a man they rescued from the Schuylkill
Every day, the members of the Challengers Dragon Boat team are special.
Yesterday, they were heroes.
The Challengers, a team of paddlers with Down syndrome, were beginning their return trip toward Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill after a long practice when team members saw a man standing on the Girard Avenue Bridge around 4 p.m.
Then they saw him jump.
“He flew like a bird and then, splash,” said Carol Lee Lindner, the team’s paddling coach and mother of team captain Alexis Lindner.
The team paddled their cumbersome, 30-foot-long, double hull, practice canoe until they were alongside the man, who was flailing and bobbing in the river.
Diane Drinker arrives at the swim club with a pool chair and her three children.
Emily, 4, models her brand new bathing suit which has an inner tube built in. She struts along the side of the pool as the family reaches their usual patch of grass.
Dan, 9, sets up his towel next to his brother Will, 8, who tests the water with his toe.
Diane sees Patty sunbathing.
Diane: Hey Patty.
Patty: Hey, Di, how are ya?
Dan takes his first real notice of Emily's odd looking swim suit.
Dan: Will, her suit weird. Why? Will: That’s an inner tube so she can stay afloat.
Dan holds up his inner tube, which he’s just finished inflating.
Dan: Mine bigger. Emily: Yeah, well I’m smaller. Dan: Mine bigger. Yours not. Mine better. Will: No it’s not, Dan. It’s just different. Dan: I special. Emily: So am I!
Diane: Okay, lunchtime. Who wants to go to the snack bar? Will: Me! Emily: Me! Dan: Not me, I stay here. Diane: Dan, we’re all going, you have to come with us. Dan: I fine. Diane: Come on, we agreed: food first, pool second. I need your big strong arms to help carry the food back here.
Daniel Drinker has transformed into… STATUE MAN!
Will: Come on, dude. You love the snack bar.
Diane: Danny Boy, don’t you want some chicken fingers?
Will: Lets just go mom, he’ll still be frozen when we get back. Diane: Patty, can you keep an eye on these two? I'll be right back.
Patty: No problem.
Diane: Thanks. Emily, you stay with Dan. Will, you come help with the food. Okay, stay right here. No pool until after we eat. Got it?
All this time, Dan’s eyes have remained fixed on a distant lifeguard stand. He has remained motionless.
Diane leads Will to the snack bar.
Dan and Emily are alone by the pool.
Patty's eyes are closed under her sunglasses.
Emily gets up and begins to wander the edge of the pool.
Dan turns his focus to her but remains still.
Emily pauses to watch an older girl dive in head first through her inner tube.
Emily looks back at Dan, who quickly averts his eyes back to the lifeguard stand.
Emily turns back to the pool and dives in, head first.
Because her inner tube is part of her bathing suit, Emily finds herself stuck, upside down. Her head under water, her legs up in the air.
Dan returns his gaze to the pool and sees Emily.
Emily's legs begin to flail.
Dan looks and sees an unaware Patty continuing to sunbathe.
ZAP! He shoots up. With a running dive, he's in the pool.
He reaches his sister and flips her over.
Emily coughs up some water.
Dan: Em, I sorry. Emily: For what? Dan: My tube better.
Diane: I thought I said, “No Pool”?
Dan and Emily turn to see Diane and Will standing on the pool’s edge with the food.