A Little Elm soccer coach says he's thankful to be alive after a group of parents banded together to help save him as he was drowning in Lake Lewisville.
The near drowning experience happened last week during a soccer get together at a park. The coach tried to swim out a short distance to get a soccer ball that landed in the lake, but he quickly realized he wouldn't be able to make it back.
Soccer Coach Amilcar Castro returned to the beach for the first time since almost drowning in Lake Lewisville.
For the coach and Christy Bronold, it started as a carefree day at the park playing soccer with other parents and their kids.
“Started pretty innocent,” recalled Bronold. “We were playing sand soccer volleyball, and the ball went over the barricade.”
The ball landed in the water so Coach Castro, an eight-year Army vet, went out to swim the seemingly short distance to get it.
“By the time I realized how far I was, the current was just too strong and too deep,” he recalled.
Castro says conditions were windy that day and he was getting tired and started taking in water.
“And that's when I realized that no matter what I was gonna do, I was just not gonna be able to stay above water,” he recalled. “The only thing I could think of that moment was to try and survive so I could be with my family.”
Another coach jumped in to help, but both quickly found themselves in trouble.
“As he came in and tried to get me onto his back so I could push off of him, he couldn't reach the floor,” Castro said.
Christy Bronold was there with her kids and has been an ER nurse for 13 years.
“I don't think I really had another choice,” she said. “I couldn't have stood there and watched that.”
Bronold was able to help both back toward shore while other parents stuck out a pole and formed a human chain to bring them all back safely.
“I genuinely believe that if everything wasn't perfect the moment I needed help, I would not be here talking,” Castro said.
The soccer coach is now back with his family.
“This is the number one reason as to why I kept fighting to try and get out of that water,” he said.
Now, Castro wants people to know what happened to him can happen to anyone no matter how well you can swim.
“It has nothing to do with you being able to swim,” he said. “It has everything to do with you understanding the environment you're in.”
According to signs posted, there's no lifeguard on duty at the lake. However, there is no sign saying how deep the water is.