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5-year-old saves little brother from drowning
Cody Cronin, 5, (front) looks over the waters of the family pool. Cody is being hailed as a hero for saving his little brother Jake, 3, (foreground) from drowning when Jake fell into the deep end of the pool. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

But very few are still in kindergarten.

Cody Cronin is the 5-year-old son of Dan and Kelly Cronin of Manteca. Last Tuesday, the Brock Elliott School youngster rescued his brother, Jake, 3, during an incident that occurred in the backyard swimming pool.

“He was able to get to the pool brush with long handles and reach out to his drowning brother,” said Kelly Cronin, who was still startled by the series of events that occurred earlier in the week.

Her husband, Dan, believes an angel was watching over his boys.

“Pool safety is so often addressed in the summer months but never do you hear of it in the winter,” Kelly said.

The boys have two rules, according to Dan Cronin.

“You can’t go in the pool area without an adult,” he said. “Rule No. 2 is that you can’t go in without a swimming vest.”

Dan Cronin spent that day cleaning out the pool filled with leaves and other debris from a recent storm. The electronic pool guard – this safety mechanism emits a high-pitched sound based on any splashing movements in the water – had to be disengaged during this process.

The Cronins’ pool is fenced in and the entrance gates are usually kept locked and secured. But the two boys, anxious to swim, noticed the lock in the hinge on one of the gates had been left unlocked.
For nearly five years, they’ve called the two-story house with the built-in backyard pool located between Brock Elliott School and Sierra High home.

Cody, for the past two years, had been enrolled in the summer swim lessons at the Lincoln Park pool. It’s there he learned from his instructor, Ben, not to jump into the water when someone is drowning but rather get the victim to the side of the pool.

Kelly Cronin, meanwhile, called Jake her water baby. The youngster is so accustomed to the pool that he’s unafraid of the water, she noted. Jake, too, has been enrolled in swim lessons for a short time last summer.

The boys were eager to take a dip in their backyard pool during a break in the weather.

Kelly was at work while Dan was inside the house. Cody and Jake were playing in the backyard.

They soon violated the house rules.

“It took only this one time when it was left latched but unlocked for a short period of time for those boys to find their way in,” Kelly said.

Moments later, Jake was in the deep end of the pool as Cody grabbed the pool brush with the estimated 12-foot long handle to reach out to his little brother.

At that point, Dan Cronin saw his young son, Jake, who kept from panicking while in eight-feet of water, grasping on to the head of the pool brush, with Cody managing a firm grip on the handle.

“I could see Jake’s head sinking further and further into the water,” he said.

The father did his best to come to the rescue, trying to leap over the fence surrounding the pool – the open gate was on the other end of the pool – but injuring his midsection in the process. Yet he managed to come to the assistance of his two boys in a nick of time.

“I could have died,” Jake later said.

He’s thankful for the quick action of his older brother.

“I’ve talked to the firefighters (about this incident) and they mentioned that many adults would not have responded in the same manner,” Dan Cronin said.

He added, “Both boys are fine and hopefully a little more aware of the dangers of the pool.”
No medical attention was necessary.

Meanwhile, Kelly hopes her frightful incident will help raise awareness.

“With or without a pool, get your kids in swim lessons,” she said. “It not only teaches them to swim and save themselves but also how to save others.”