WA youngster is a born lifesaver
Neil Brooks with son Levi, 5, Kadek, 4, and Ema, 7.

The wife of WA Olympic great Neil Brooks was enjoying another day in a Balinese paradise when screams from a girl broke the serenity.

Rushing poolside at their rented villa, Elle Brooks was confronted with the sight of five-year-old son Levi duck-diving to save a young friend who had fallen over the edge and, unable to swim, gone straight to the bottom.

An exasperated Mrs Brooks got to the pool as her son dragged his friend, whose sister had sounded the alarm, "coughing and spluttering" to safety.

"I was like, 'Oh my God'," Mrs Brooks said of the incident near their home on Bali's Bukit Peninsula.

"It was over the other side of the pool to where I was and it was like it was happening in slow motion.

"I heard the little girl screaming but Levi didn't even think - he was straight in.

"He pulled him up to the surface, swam him back over to the edge, got out himself and pulled his friend over the side as I came running around.

"I told him he was a little hero and it was such a brave thing he did. He can swim as good as Neil, he's fantastic."

She said Levi was now teaching his four-year-old friend to swim.

Brooks said swimming strategies for babies his former Australian coach Laurie Lawrence taught him were instrumental in Levi becoming proficient in water from a young age.

He said his son was big for his age, including feet he described as "Thorpe-worthy", referring to former champion Ian Thorpe.

"We literally had him out of the womb and into the tub," he said.

"I had him in the bath as a newborn and was giving him water awareness.

"You look at them, call out their name, count to three and then pour the water over their face.

"The first couple of times you do it, they cough and splutter. But after you've done it three or four times, even two and three-month-old babies start holding their breath and closing their eyes before the water even gets to their forehead.

"When we were taking him swimming at six months, he was already used to having his face wet and in the water.

"I'm just so proud of him - just the presence of mind at five years of age to see a kid go straight to the bottom and get down there and get him back up."

Brooks celebrated his 52nd birthday yesterday with a 15km run through the southern Bali resort district of Nusa Dua.

He plans to return to WA in November to compete in a Mandurah half-ironman event and will try to qualify for next year's 50 to 55 years triathlon world titles in Chicago via an event at Hillarys in December.

I heard the little girl screaming but Levi didn't even think, he was straight in."Elle Brooks

The West Australian

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