A LIFEGUARD tutor who risked his life in a lake in Cumbria has been honoured by the Swimming Teachers’ Association.

Yanek Kowal, 65, saved the life of a drowning 18-year-old man while on holiday in the Lake District.

Yanek was enjoying a quiet afternoon fishing with his wife at Howtown, Ullswater, when he became aware of a large group of young people on the beach area paddling and enjoying the summer sun.

As an experienced STA lifeguard trainer, he was worried about their swimming ability and he became acutely alert to the situation and the danger. Thankfully, they made it to the pontoon safely, but a further two young men started to follow them who Yanek thought also looked precarious.

Without hesitation,Yanek asked his wife to instruct the emergency services of the situation, and he quickly emptied his pockets and started swimming out to them. When he reached the two young men, later named as brothers Bryxzel and Ayxzel Galeon, he was faced with what he says was the hardest decision of his life - it was a decision he needed to make in a split second - a life or death decision that nobody would ever want to make.

He said both brothers were struggling to stay afloat and the older one sank very quickly, and he could not get to him in time. So he opted to try and save Ayxzel who was also submerging.

Thanks to Yanek’s heroic actions, Ayxzel survived. Yanek said: “It all happened so quickly. It was unbelievable and I had to make the most impossible choice in that split second.

“I had to make that difficult decision because I could sadly only save one of them.”