NMU football player pulls struggling swimmer out of Black Rocks water

Ratavian Rinkines appears in a 2018 football game at the Superior Dome. (Photo courtesy: NMU Athletics)

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A Northern Michigan University football player pulled a struggling swimmer out of Lake Superior on Sunday.

According to a press release from the NMU Athletic Department, sophomore Ratavian Rinkines of Lansing was at Black Rocks in Presque Isle Park on Sunday, Aug. 11 to relax on the last day of summer before football practices began.

While sitting on the beach enjoying the sun and people watching, he noticed someone had jumped in but was having trouble getting back to the shore.

"I was sitting on the beach next to Black Rocks and noticed this man jump in," Rinkines said in a press release. "I saw that he was swimming but then seemed to stop and start yelling for his wife. I realized he must be drowning so I started yelling up to his wife but she couldn't hear me so I sprinted around the beach and then climbed down to pull him out of the water."

Upon reaching safety, the man told Rinkines that while he was swimming his muscles cramped up and he could no longer swim. The sophomore didn't realize what his actions meant until the man was on top of the rocks.

"Once he got back on top, I started thinking and thought about how his wife would feel if she would have lost him there," he said.

Rinkines says he doesn't know what made him react and jump into action.

"I didn't think about it when it happened I was just like, 'Go,'" he said. "But it makes me feel good knowing I helped somebody else."

Later that day, Rinkines saw the man and his wife again, this time while walking around the Superior Dome.

"Once I got him back on top of the rocks, we started talking and it came up that I was on the football team at NMU and we had camp starting soon," he said. "I left to go to meetings at the Dome. After I completed everything I was walking out and saw his wife and she said, 'Oh look, it's our friend!' I looked at her and thought she looked familiar then saw him and realized who it was."

To others who may find themselves in a similar situation, Rinkines offers some advice.

"Pay attention and notice things, and just react, don't think because you never know what you can do for somebody," he said.

Rinkines and the Wildcats will begin the season in the Superior Dome Sept. 7 against McKendree University at 1:00 p.m.

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