New Zealand open water swimming manager Philip Rush encountered sharks, jellyfish and hypothermia during his time as a marathon swimmer but he has never been more petrified than when Cara Baker "turned grey" and fainted into his arms on Tuesday.
"I was absolutely petrified to be perfectly honest," Rush said at the official athletes' hotel adjacent to the venue when discussing his compatriot's health scare before the women's 10km event. "Her health is way more important," he added of the incident that occurred less than two hours prior to the start.
Rush administered first aid and Baker recovered only to faint again when she tried to walk and the Wellington-based firefighter, who has taken a leave of absence to work with Swimming New Zealand, sought immediate medical assistance. Deciding to swim as she got better, Baker managed to finish the race in 22nd place.