Student's quick thinking saves 7-year-old found at bottom of pool

Published: Friday, Oct. 26 2012 5:20 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Quick thinking and actions by a Herriman High School senior likely saved the life of a 7-year-old who nearly drowned in a hotel swimming pool. 

Greg Peterson was attending a conference of the Future Business Leaders of America on Thursday at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. He was swimming in the hotel's indoor pool that night, when he noticed three children at the opposite end.

Two got out, and then Peterson said he heard someone call out, "Clark is under the water."

"After it had been five or 10 seconds, I really started to worry because little kids can't stay under water for very long," he recalled. "I really started wondering, and my wheels started turning in my head trying to figure out why he was under the water."

Peterson said he swam quickly to the area the children had been swimming and spotted the boy face down on the bottom of the pool.

"I picked him up by his chest," he said. "I couldn't feel a heartbeat — no respiratory movement at all. I just knew that I needed to get him out of the pool. I didn't know what I was going to do with him next."

The boy's mother then dove into the pool completely dressed, Peterson said. He wasn't sure why the child felt so light lifting him out of the water, but he was able to place him in the arms of another relative. The relative administered CPR and revived the boy.

An official said the family informed the hotel the boy spent the night at Primary Children's Medical Center as a precaution, but was doing "fine."

"It was a miracle," said Matt Filippini, Peterson's teacher and FBLA adviser. "Greg told me he was planning on going to the dance, but for some reason, something inside of him told him he was supposed to go swimming."

Filippini said his student's actions were "nothing but heroic" and exhibited the best qualities of a leader.

"It's just stepping up and knowing what the right thing is to do at the right time," the teacher said. "He was at the right place at the right time. Thankfully, the little kid is still alive because of that."

Peterson shied away from the idea his actions were heroic.

"It's something I think any reasonable person would have done in that circumstance had they not frozen up and been super scared and run away," he said.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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