NEWS
09/07/2019 09:50 BST

Olympic Swimmer Filippo Magnini Rescues Drowning Newlywed

"I just did what I had to do."

Paolo Bruno via Getty Images
Filippo Magnini saved the life of Andrea Benedetto on a beach in Sardinia on Sunday 

An Olympic swimmer is being hailed a hero after he raced ahead of lifeguards to rescue a drowning newlywed.

Italian Filippo Magnini, 37, was on a beach in Sardinia with his girlfriend when he heard the man’s screams for help.

Magnini managed to reach Andrea Benedetto, who had reportedly been floating on an inflatable unicorn off the shore off Cala Sinzias beach, when he got into trouble.

Magnini told Italian paper Corriere dello Sport: “I just did what I had to do.

“The bather was in a lot of trouble. He was quite frightened, he was really stuck and had swallowed some seawater.

“When I reached him he wasn’t even able to speak, and it wasn’t easy to lift him on to the raft, so we laid him on an airbed that some other bathers had nearby.”

Magnini managed to hold Benedetto, 45, who had married his husband just two days earlier, above the water until lifeguards arrived to take over.

He was treated on the beach and then taken to hospital where his condition is described as stable.

Benedetto told the BBC that he only learned of who had saved him after he regained consciousness in hospital.

He said: “I didn’t have any chance to thank him… I hope to be able to thank him in person.”

Magnini was in Italy’s 4x200m freestyle relay team which won bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

He was world champion in the 100m freestyle in 2005 and tied with Canadian Brent Hayden in 2007 for gold.