Woman saves girl from drowning at Jamestown Reservoir

Many different circumstances led to a couple driving through Jamestown Reservoir Thursday afternoon, July 28, to save a girl from drowning.

kylie greshik two 080122.jpg
Kylie Greshik stands at the Jamestown Reservoir on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, and talks about how she helped save a teenager struggling in deep water the previous week by entering the lake and swimming out to her. While swimming, Greshik talked to the girl to calm her then got behind her, pushing her forward as they swam to the shore.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – Many different circumstances led to a couple driving through Jamestown Reservoir Thursday afternoon, July 28, to save a girl from drowning.

Tim and Kylie Greshik were driving through Jamestown Reservoir around 2:45 p.m. on their way to Casey Willman’s funeral service when Kylie noticed someone’s head sticking out of the water and a kayak up against some rocks.

“That’s when I heard her scream and it kind of clicked,” Kylie said.

Tim slammed on the brakes and they both heard someone scream, “Someone help me,” she said. The Greshiks, who are from Jamestown, then went back to the girl’s location, which was south of the Hondo’s Hideaway and about 50 yards out in the water.

Kylie asked if there were any floats in the vehicle but there weren’t any.


“They teach you in water safety courses to put something between you and the drowning person, so they don’t take you under,” she said. “That wasn’t an option.”

Tim said he didn’t want to identify the girl who was saved because she was a juvenile. An attempt to reach the girl’s mother through Messenger was not returned.

Kylie, who was dressed to go to the funeral, said she pulled her dress off and ran into the water.

Tim said he ran up to the shoreline and stood there because he can't swim.

“I’m like, ‘How am I going to save this girl? How am I going to swim,’” Tim said. “I went to take my shirt off and all of a sudden she was sprinting by.”

Kylie said she saw the girl go underwater a few times while she was swimming to save her but kept her eye on her in case she didn’t come back up.

“That was the scariest part, seeing her go under and wondering if I was going to be able to find her if she didn’t come back up,” she said

Once Kylie got to the girl, she had the girl backstroke to the shore while she pushed her. Kylie said the waves kept splashing in the girl’s face, causing her to choke a little.


A related story of a Jamestown woman helping an injured person:
Viola Wolf was injured in a rollover on U.S. Highway 83 about 3 miles north of Hazelton, North Dakota, 25 years ago in July.

“She had a lot of fight left in her,” Kylie said.

Kylie said she swam to the girl worried if she could physically do it. She had surgery to remove her gallbladder last spring that nicked her bowel and left her in a medically-induced coma for seven days, she said.

Kylie said adrenaline had kicked in while she was swimming but she was sore the next day.

Tim said the girl’s mother reached out to the Greshiks and thanked them for saving her daughter. Tim said he told her to make sure she monitored her daughter because she had taken in a lot of water.

Circumstances place Greshiks at site

Tim said it was hard to explain what put him and Kylie at the location. He normally would not have taken East Lakeside Road near the Jamestown Reservoir to go through the city.

“For some reason my mind told me we should go this way since we were going down by Hidden Rivers Acres,” he said. “Typically I would have went and turned in near Collins (Aerospace) and went across the dam.”

Hidden Rivers Acres is where the funeral service was being held that the Greshiks planned to attend.

Tim said if they had left 20 minutes earlier, the girl might have still been on her kayak. If they had left 20 minutes later, the Greshiks might not have seen anyone drowning.


“Thirty seconds earlier probably would have made a difference,” he said. “She might not have been in distress 30 seconds prior to that. Thirty seconds later, she might have been to the point where she was under water not even seen her.”

Kylie said she wasn’t ready to leave their home when Tim was ready. Tim said their daughter thought she left the curling iron plugged in after they had left.

“We stopped and went back to make sure it wasn’t plugged in,” he said. “We had to put the dog out.”

When the Greshiks heard the screams for help, Tim said there were two vehicles in front of them that drove by. Kylie said there were two people standing on the bridge fishing, although they might not have heard the girl or thought she was just playing.

Tim said he had the windows down in the vehicle.

Tim said it wasn’t the first time Kylie has helped someone. A couple of years ago, Kylie heard a woman screaming for help about a quarter mile away from their place.

“We go looking through the trees and there she is, she’s yelling, ‘Help us. Help us,’” he said. “Her husband had a heart attack when he was driving the bike. They pulled into this guy’s yard and fell over.”

Water safety

Kylie stressed the importance of water safety. She said she took her first set of courses on water safety while she was a child in gym class. She also had swimming lessons as a child.

“Learning water safety is important,” she said. “It is so easy to misjudge the distance, wind, temperature of water. You don’t realize how fast things can turn when you are out there.”

Tim said people should make sure they are wearing life jackets.

“I see so many people out on those things and there is just no life jacket, not even on the boat,” he said. “All it takes is one gust of wind.”

Kylie said the wind makes the water move fast and waves are a huge factor.

Tim said the winds were about 30 mph on Thursday afternoon.

“There were white caps, so it was windy enough for that,” he said.

How to keep safe in water

The National Safety Council gives the following advice for water safety for swimmers:

  • Don't go in the water unless you know how to swim.
  • Don’t swim alone. 
  • Learn CPR and rescue techniques.
  • Make sure the body of water matches your skill level.
  • If you are caught in a current, don’t try to fight it. Stay calm and float with the current or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free. 
  • Swim in areas supervised by lifeguards. 
  • Don’t push or jump on others. 
  • Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol when swimming. 

The National Safety Council gives the following water safety precautions for parents or those supervising children:

  • Never leave your child alone. 
  • Find swimming lessons for your child. 
  • Always keep an eye on your child.
  • Don’t let children play around drains or suction fittings. 
  • Don’t consume alcohol when operating a boat. 
  • Always make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of water. 
  • Have a first-aid kit and emergency contacts handy. 
  • Get CPR training. 
  • If a child is missing, check the water first.


Steps to take if someone is drowning

The American Red Cross states people should take the following steps if a person is drowning:

  • Recognize the signs of someone in trouble and shout for help. Signs include a swimmer not making forward progress in the water, being vertical in the water but unable to move or tread water and being motionless face down in the water.
  • Rescue and remove the person from the water without putting yourself in danger. 
  • Ask someone to call emergency medical services. If you are alone, give two minutes of care then call emergency medical services. 
  • Being rescue breathing and CPR if needed. 
  • Use an AED if available and transfer care to advanced life support.
Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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