Marena Kouba was a swimmer for St. Cloud State which definitely came in handy as she and her boyfriend Dayton were on vacation in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan in July of 2020. They made their way out to a sandbar when they spotted an uncle with his niece and nephew. She told WCCO-CBS "I thought that they were laughing out in the water, but it turns out that they were actually screaming. And Dayton was like, ‘Hey maybe you should go check that out, I dove into the water and swam out there.”

It turns out there was an active rip current and the entire family had been sucked into it. Kouba reached the uncle first and he was sobbing and obviously really scared. Kouba told him to grab her hand as they headed over to the kids. Even though she had no lifeguard training and the water was freezing she knew what she had to do to get everyone to the shore safely.

Kouba grabbed the uncle's hand who then grabbed the kid's hands and they formed a chain together and were able to safely make it back to shore. The Uncle Eric Benac was shaken when they got to the shore saying how Kouba seemed to appear out of nowhere. He went on to say how he will never forget what she did for him and his family by risking her own life to save complete strangers.

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For her heroic effort, Kouba will be receiving the Carnegie Medal which according to WCCO-CBS " is an exclusive, national award for someone who risks their life to an extraordinary degree while saving a stranger. Many of the recipients actually die during their rescue efforts." She will receive her medal in about two months along with a monetary award. She just finished her senior year season of swimming and now is in grad school.

Kouba is very humble about the whole situation saying she did not do it for recognition or a Thank You, it is just what you are supposed to do. I am sure that the family will be forever grateful and thankfully Kouba was able to stay calm and recognized how dangerous the situation was and what needed to be done for all of them to get to safety.

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